My Experience of the Rape Crisis Counsellor Training Course

Summing up the last few months of training at Rape Crisis in a short blog is not an easy task. Having just completed the training course to become a counsellor, I cannot believe the amount we have learned in what seems like such a short space of time.

After the interviewing process, eight of us arrived at the first session a little apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. We were warmly welcomed by the facilitators and quickly felt at home. The first section of the training course was personal growth, which was particularly enriching but also unearthed some painful memories for some people. This section gave each of us a chance to come to terms with the reality that South Africa faces and grapple the subjects that many feel are taboo. However, this was not enough to deter us as we moved through to the next section of the course.


Next we learned about the political, legal, medical, psychological and social aspects of rape, the Criminal Justice System and the counselling relationship. These were very informative and formed the basis of the vital knowledge needed in order to counsel rape survivors. We were able to get a sense of what a rape survivor goes through after he or she has been raped and how we can support someone going through this. We learned principles of empowerment and feminist counselling which helps us to respect the survivor, make her feel safe, offer her support and give her choices.


The third and last section of this training course was the practical side of counselling. This included counselling skills, techniques, boundaries and limit setting and how to assess and refer a client. In this section we did lots of role play activities which helped us work through scenarios that we may come across. Before long, we were all feeling much more confident in ourselves. This section also gave us a chance to apply all the skills and knowledge we had learnt so far in a practical way.

Surprisingly, despite the subject matter of the course, we did not feel disheartened, helpless or disempowered. Instead, it helped us to see how we can be a part of change in someones life. The following quote comes to mind and is apt for our group:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead


For me, this course has been a life-changing experience. Through all the journal-writing, contributing and hearing others’ contributions, role-playing and debates, we have grown and become more self-aware and more in-tune with today’s societal issues as well as the issues that a rape survivor may face. For the first time, I was a part of the change and what a great feeling that was!  All in all, this course far exceeded my expectations and I feel very grateful to have been a part of it.

Clara Duvill currently volunteers at the Observatory office


Our special thanks to the following individuals and companies who contributed toward this training course.The excess funds raised will go toward our next course.

Pick ‘n Pay, MKEM, Tessa Hochveld, Kim Hochveld, Omotayo Jolaosho, Ralph Immerman, Marelize Barnard, Georgina Jones, Chantelle de Nobrega, Bregje Wijsenbeek, Jacques Maree, Michael Evans, Joanne Kriel, Johathan Wacks, Kathleen Thelen, Melissa Milne, Joanne Levitan, Tessa Drews, Lou Smaldino, Kate Morris, Cheryl Brown, Jane Raphaely, R.Farber, Ani Schneider, Tiffany Venter, Richard Andrew and Johne Otto.


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About rapecrisisblog

We have a vision of a South Africa in which rape survivors suffer no secondary trauma, and are supported throughout their interaction with the Criminal Justice System (CJS). Our mission is to promote an end to violence against women, specifically rape, and to assist women to achieve their right to live free from violence. Rape Crisis Cape Town seeks to achieve its mission through counselling and training of women, thereby reducing the trauma experienced by rape survivors, and encouraging reporting of rape and the conviction of rapists.

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