What an amazing day for Rape Crisis and the Stop the Bus campaign! Talk about knocking over a couple of roadblocks!
Bredasdorp did not know what hit them as excited throngs of students, teachers, police officers and community volunteers geared up for the 16 Days of Activism with flyers and posters. Children from local schools carried banners and posters denouncing violence against women. Seeing the children’s infectious enthusiasm, the Rape Crisis team was soon singing and dancing with them. Barbara Williams, our campaign coordinator, was interviewed for a local radio station about the campaign. It was encouraging to witness people from the community come together for such a cause. Overall, a great beginning!
At the Otto Du Plessis Hospital as part of the Shukumisa Campaign Tutu Dobela made sure to ‘shake things up’ by monitoring the health facility against criteria set out in the Sexual Offences Act.
We were delighted to take part in a roadblock organised by the local traffic police and other community organisations. We handed out pamphlets about the organisation to vehicles that passed by, raising awareness about Rape Crisis and the services offered by local criminal justice system officials.
In the afternoon, we joined the Department of Correctional Services and the South African Police Service (SAPS) at the Nelson Mandela Community Hall for their launch of the 16 Days of Activism campaign. The event was held in the heart of Bredasdorp, which has, over the past year, received worldwide media coverage due to the brutal rape and murder of Anene Booysen. Our very own Eleanor Williams shared important information about Rape Crisis and the objectives that we hope to achieve.
While this was going on, the Shukumisa Campaign was going full speed ahead with Tutu carrying out her duties at the local magistrate’s court. She was able to speak with the court’s Office Manager who answered all our questions. Inspections were carried out at key areas such as waiting rooms and toilets to make sure they were suitable for rape survivors.
We finished the day with home visits in Bredasdorp where we went door-to-door, speaking with locals about the issue of rape and violence against women. We were accompanied by a news reporter from eNews who filmed and conducted interviews with locals and with Eleanor to help raise awareness and promote the reach of the campaign. One woman spoke in a very compelling way about drinking and how alcohol plays a part in rape.
We had a busy and fulfilling first day on the campaign trail and although it cannot be denied that Bredasdorp is still feeling the effects of the horrific crime against Anene Booysen, it was promising to see that the community was still able to engage in conversations about rape, however raw and sensitive the topic still may be.
The Stop the Bus Campaign is sponsored by the Western Cape Department of Social Development.