We spent today in the informal settlement of Stanford doing door to door and giving talks to the community and the staff members of two flower factories. Before today I haven’t had any direct contact with survivors, but today everyone in the team got into contact with multiple survivors and mothers of survivors and we dealt with all the different types of rape. Stanford clearly seems to be a hotspot and it appears there is little support in the community for rape survivors. The stories were dismaying and we all wish we could spend more time in this community to provide more aid. We met adult survivors who were raped for the first time at a very young age and never got any counselling throughout their lives. It is obvious that the need is dire and it’s utterly pitiful that we could only be there for one day.
At the back of my head a question lingers, what if this is not unique to the Stanford (predominantly coloured) community and what if the other communities we visited were unable to open up because of language and cultural barriers (we only have one Xhosa facilitator on the team). We have had some amazing breakthroughs and triumphs during the past week but it is undeniable that there is still much work to be done. Even though the experience today was devastating, it was also eye opening and pumped a thirst for action into every member of the team.