In July 2012 we announced that all but the Director had been retrenched from Rape Crisis. Our incredible staff remained on in a voluntary capacity, and continued to provide essential services to survivors of rape. Without them and the volunteers who deliver all of our direct services, Rape Crisis could never have survived. Sadly many people assumed that we had closed and the number of rape survivors coming to our offices diminished. We had fewer volunteers on duty at our courts and as a result we saw fewer witnesses there too.
Now, as a result of a R1.3 million once off donation from the Provincial Department of Social Development (DSD), we can pay our staff again and put volunteers back on full shifts. This is a significant victory for Rape Crisis and all our supporters. We still need to raise the remaining two thirds of our annual budget and our staff are on short term contracts rather than being permanently employed so we are thrilled by the individual donations that have been pouring in.
On International Women’s Day a campaign bus from Golden Arrow carried 50 volunteers to eight locations where they distributed promotional materials and engaged with people near police stations, libraries, hospitals, counselling centres and shopping malls about rape, its consequences, and how to support survivors. Sulaiyman Arend from Golden Arrow was there to make sure all went smoothly. We hoped that by doing this campaign the community would know for certain that our doors are still open and that we are there to support them as much as ever.
Attorneys Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Incorporated donated R10 000 towards campaign costs, allowing us to produce much needed promotional and educational materials. Rape Crisis Director Kathleen Dey, Rape Crisis volunteer Geraldine Ngobe, Inge Schneider representing Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and Eleanor Williams, Rape Crisis volunteer representative to the Board of Trustees, are all pictured here getting ready to march!
First stop was central Athlone, a community that has used Rape Crisis services since we established an office there in 1997. The campaign was held together by key staff members and willing volunteers.
At the offices of the Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) in Athlone we dropped off resources including pamphlets, booklets and a copy of our Virtual Tour of the Criminal Justice System. This pack as whole makes a complete toolkit for anyone supporting a rape survivor. Zandi Jack from the Department accepts a resource pack from Rape Crisis Training and Development Coordinator Liezel van Schalkwyk.
Next stop was the local police stations where we were welcomed. Rape Crisis has done training with SAPS victim support volunteers on how to support a rape victim and we established the very first Victim Friendly Room at Manenberg police station in 2001.
Our singing attracted a lot of attention from passersby and kept the spirit of activism strong – it was like the old Rape Crisis again and the bus was the perfect way to get around and stay together.
The next stop on the journey reflected the next step in the process of reporting rape – the health facility. Many women do not choose to report to the police but go first to attend to the many serious health risks associated with rape. Ida Petersen at the Dr Abduragman Day Hospital in Bridgetown accepts a resource pack from Liezel.
After several stops and some marching in the streets to let the community know who we are we drove off to Khayelitsha. It rained and rained but we remained completely undaunted.
Our first stop in Khayelitsha was Harare police station, one of the stations with the highest reported rapes in the Western Cape. Kholeka Booi, Rape Crisis Training and Development Coordinator, presents a resource pack to Captain Adams.
Next stop was the Khayelitsha Hospital Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC), old friends who know we are still on track but we needed to let everyone know that our Khayelitsha office is still up and running and has been a key presence in the area since 1995. Rape Crisis Counselling Coordinator Joyce Doni chats to Vumisa Langa and Boni Mogale as she hands over the resource package.
After reading all of this we hope that our online following as well as the communities we serve all know for certain – Rape Crisis is here to stay! Services that empower rape victims are more relevant than they have ever been. We believe that supporting a survivor through the criminal justice process enables her to best play the role that can ensure her recovery, bring the rapist to justice and increase conviction rates.
Donations to Rape Crisis can be made into the following account via direct deposit or internet banking. Please email us your contact details when you make an EFT, so we can thank you:
The Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust
Account: Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust
Bank: Standard Bank of SA
If you have Master Card or Visa you can donate online via our 1 000 Hearts Campaign www.rapecrisis.org.za