Meet Abigail, learn about the work she does, and find out why the care packs we will be preparing on Mandela Day are so important to our survivors.
Rape Crisis: Tell us about yourself
Abigail: My name is Abigail and I’m 32 years old. I’m a Rape Crisis first responder at the Thuthuzela Care Centre in Athlone.
RC: What is your relationship with Rape Crisis?
A: I started with Rape Crisis in 2009, when I did the training to become a volunteer counsellor. Since then I’ve been very involved and active within the organisation: I’ve done training with Stop the Bus, our community outreach initiative where we went out to empower women by educating them about their rights, rape, and what to do; have also helped with training new counselling volunteers and I’m also very active in the Observatory office where I have been a pieceworker, meaning I’ve answered the crisis line, booked client appointments, and offered support to people who call Rape Crisis, informing them about rape and what their options are.
RC: What is the Thuthuzela Care Centre?
A: The Thuthuzela Care centre is a one stop centre where rape survivors go to for forensic examinations and the medical treatment after rape. There is a forensic doctor who does the examination, a nurse, and also a counsellor at the centre. Often the investigating officer brings the survivor to the centre to undergo a forensic examination to collect evidence for the case, but they also receive important medication that prevents HIV, pregnancy and other sexually transmitted infections. Sometimes the investigating officer will also take their statement there. It’s a place for them to go to and receive medical attention and examination after they have been raped
RC: What is a care pack?
A: A care pack contains a washcloth, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, tissues, underwear, and sometimes a snack. We give these packs to rape survivors so that they can shower or bath if they want to after the forensic examination.
RC: What impact does this have upon the survivors?
A: The care pack us shows survivors that we care about them, especially after they’ve gone through this horrific and traumatic experience. For them, some of them don’t even have the means to buy basics like sanitary towels, so we try to help from our side. Being able to wash after the examination and remove the evidence of the crime is very comforting to survivors, and this is possible thanks to the wonderful people who donate care pack items to us.
RC: How can people help and what can they donate?
A: You can sign up and join our Mandela Day care pack drive. Collect toiletries and join together with us on 18 July to create beautiful care packs to show your support for rape survivors.
We always welcome donations of soap, bodywash, facecloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary towels, underwear and nappies.
We hope you can join us on Mandela Day.