walking danger street
Credit: Image by chriscom on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Reporters at The Daily Vox are dedicating this month to the issue of sexual violence on public transport in South Africa in a bid to raise awareness of the growing problem and find solutions for change.

The country's minibus taxis are a necessary form of transport for over 15 million commuters a day, but women travelling this way are often subjected to sexual harassment, violent advances, and in some cases even rape.

Benazir Cassim, acting managing editor, The Daily Vox, explained the team of predominantly female journalists are passionate to speak out and make a change for the better.

"We are not afraid to take a stance. When somebody is being oppressed, marginalised or their voice is not being heard, we will always stand up for them," she said, explaining that this problem makes up part of a bigger issue about the safety of women in public spaces.

"In the case of women that don't feel safe, or are being beaten and raped in the street, we can't sit back and report on these stories objectively."

As part of a partnership with Soul City which launches today (17 May), a social justice organisation that focuses on Young Women & Girls and the communities they live in, the publisher is producing Facebook Lives, videos, Instagram posts and website articles to help give advice and highlight what needs to change.

This will include women's personal experiences on public transport and in public spaces, street vox pops with people with different perspectives, interviews with taxi drivers and coverage of Soul City events, shared on the hashtag #SafeTaxisNow.

"Such a large majority of our audience are young, between 18 and 35. We have to take advantage of various different platforms to take the conversation forward," Cassim explained.

Faranaaz Parker, who is a writing coach at the publisher, explained why this is a conversation that hasn't been happening enough in the media.

"It's something that people are aware of, but it is taken for granted and assumed that women just have to get on with it," she said.

"When we started speaking to officials and government spokespeople, the onus was just put on women to take care of themselves – this is an issue that doesn't stay on the news agenda.

"Raising the issue only gets you so far – we need to look at the possible solutions and the bigger picture."

The coverage on this issue will continue until the end of the month, but the partnership with Soul City will go on until 17 June.

Listen to Benazir Cassim and Faranaaz Parker on our podcast here.

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