Last week we hosted a community dialogue in Athlone to present our community survey results, discuss the reasons behind the high rates of rape, and explore potential solutions. We believe that by mobilising and working together with communities, we can find new ways of challenging rape and promoting safety.
We introduced ourselves and shared our reasons for coming to talk about rape. We were joined by individuals from various areas within Athlone and representatives from the South African Police Service.
Rape Crisis Training & Development Coordinator, Rifqah Abrahams, presented the survey results. The overwhelming majority of residents in Athlone report that they feel very unsafe in their community, and that drugs, gangsterism and parental negligence are the main contributors to the high rape rate.
Together we brainstormed ideas about what we could do as a community to challenge the high rate of rape and help those whose lives are affected by trauma. We decided that one of the things we need is more psychosocial support for survivors and information about rights and services.
We shared our ideas with each other and decided that we would start support groups in each area, particularly in Hanover Park where there are no such support services, and we would use certain commemorative days to highlight issues like rape and distribute the most critical information that communities do not have access to. We will meet again to generate further solutions.
Photography: Alexa Sedgwick
Our community mobilisation project is made possible with the support of the Western Cape Department of Social Development.