SA´s Dirty Laundry is a creative project intended to bring awareness to the rape crisis in South Africa through the use of artistic intervention. There are many physical elements to the project and there are also many conceptual or inferred elements which in essence have nothing to do with the project´s subject.
A collaboration between Jenny Nijenhuis, Nondumiso Msimanga and Tanya Pampalone, SA’s Dirty Laundry was hosted and supported by Soma Art + Space during 10 of the 16 Days of Activism against abuse campaign in SA. The street installation consisted of washing lines of approximately 1.2 kilometres displaying 3600 pairs of panties. 3600 is what is estimated to be the number of rapes that happen daily in SA.
Most cases of sexual assault and molestation are in the form of domestic violence (where the aggressor/defendant is known to the victim and they share a domestic relationship (legal definition: cohabitate, family, share or shared an actual or perceived romantic relationship – therefore, having gone on a tinder date with somebody qualifies them under the definition).
Most cases go unreported as the victims live in fear or do not have the means to escape their circumstances let alone find a legal solution.
Legal solutions are prohibitively expensive, excluding most South Africans. Criminal cases of sexual violence cannot (and should not) be settled outside of court. The real life and practical arrangements are overlooked and these can be settled outside of court:
- Getting your husband/partner to keep on paying the mortgage, water, lights, food etc. while the case is being resolved
- This can be voluntarily by means of mediation
- Or involuntarily by means of a protection order
- Getting a divorce from an abusive spouse
- Getting maintenance payments for the children or for the abused wife/common law partner
- Establishing rights and responsibilities for the care of the kids with third parties (usually family members) while the parents aren’t able to do so
- Getting a protection order against the aggressor/defendant to prevent further acts of violence
The Social Justice Network promotes access to justice by:
- Mediating cases
- Training various government departments, non-profit organisations and private individuals how to mediate these cases (and for the private sector how to create a career out of it)
In support of the initiative presented in the installation art project, The Social Justice Network are making their services available for free legal assistance in the above types of cases to abused women who do not have the necessary finances available.
Who is The Social Justice Network?
We believe in a society where justice, reconciliation and cooperation can be realised through the interactions of all members of society. Not just the domain of the wealthy, the influential or formal government structures, but freely available to all.
This concept is not new to South Africa. The rich culture and history of effective conflict resolution through African community mediation sees conflicts in their social contexts rather than isolated events.
The practice of mediation on African soil predates even the millennium-old mediation guilds on the European subcontinent and have received recognition as superior conflict resolution mechanisms by both the United Nations and the African Union. In 1995 the concept of mediation was cast into the forefront by the proceedings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which sought to right past wrongs of human rights violations. This process was a beacon of unprecedented morality to the international community and gave closure to many communities and families.
The Social Justice Network aims at empowering communities, families and mediation professionals at the ground roots level of shared decision making through accredited training programs and mediation solutions. This goal stretches beyond the reach of a single company.
For more information, visit www.socialjustice.co.za