2016 celebrates 40 years of supporting rape survivors
Because I’ve been here for 20 of those 40 years, I can’t let the occasion go by without offering thanks to those that helped us get here.
Thanks to those who founded this organisation, and all our previous directors. Thanks to past and present members of staff, for whom working at Rape Crisis is not just a job, but a part of them. Thanks to our volunteers – all of whom come from the communities we serve – and who are the cornerstone of our organisation. Thanks to our Trustees, past and present, who have careers of their own but give unstintingly of themselves, their time and their expertise. Thanks to those men and women who were courageous enough to seek our support in reaching out for personal healing; and to those who embarked on the difficult process of bringing the perpetrators to justice.
And thanks to you – for being an individual who empowers Rape Crisis with your donations, for being an advocate and spreading the word, for being our partner behind the scenes – a role which is as vital to our work as any other. Your support allows Rape Crisis to grow.
Long ago rape was seldom discussed or publicised. We’re not in the business of telling sensationalist stories but there have been enough in the media of late to open everyone’s eyes, to encourage more debate, to register public scrutiny and to express our collective outrage.
Rape has its roots in discrimination against women and it happens in all spheres of society. In countries where there’s more equality between men and women, studies show that there is less rape. We all need to work at making that equality a reality in South Africa.
It is also thanks to all of you that we survived our recent financial crisis. I hope that we can rely on your continued support to ensure that we also weather the storms that are approaching.
Please read the rest of this newsletter to see what your support has achieved as described in the stories and events we showcase here, as well as to find out how you can celebrate 40 years with us.
You helped to make our counsellor training possible
Thank you. At the beginning of the year we asked you to help us raise money to cover the costs of training volunteer counsellors who could not afford the training fee but who were passionate about helping others. Your generosity was heartwarming.
The training started in March, with a group of 17 – the largest group we’ve ever trained – and the first part of the course was personal growth…..
Personal growth is a very important and challenging part of the training during which people form close bonds through sharing their personal stories and histories. They talk about their own lives and the things that have happened to them which have made them who they are, exploring issues of sexuality and gender, with open discussions about culture and race, and how we use our diversity as a strength to understand violence as it happens to women everywhere, as well as to men and those who are gender non-conforming.
Next comes the more intensive learning sections in understanding the criminal justice system, the medical procedures after rape, and the psychological impact faced by survivors, their families and our communities. This understanding is crucial in order for our counsellors to be able to support our clients holistically on the journey to recovery and along the road to justice.
Finally, they enter the counselling skills section, where they learn about the principles of empowerment that govern all our work, the phases of recovery, the signs and symptoms of rape trauma syndrome, and skills of reflective listening. Through role plays they have the opportunity to try out their new techniques on each other and get feedback from experienced counsellors.
Those that stay the full course are then able to put their skills and passion into action in the service of the survivors we see. Thank you – more counsellors means that we can always ‘be there’ for all rape survivors.
Quotes from evaluation forms: ‘I feel I’ve grown as a person. It’s not a comfortable course, but a powerful one.’ ‘What I enjoyed most was the strength of the women – sometimes it was overwhelming.’
Looking for your support later this year
Rape Crisis will launch an advocacy campaign later this year that holds the South African Government accountable for its promise to roll out Sexual Offences Courts for survivors of rape and sexual assault. There should be 200 courts across the country – that means twenty courts a year for the next ten years.
Can, and will Government deliver on its promise?
Specialised courts for all survivors across the country should be a reality.
Whilst Cape Town has specialised help for survivors which can not only lessen the trauma they endure, but will also increase the likelihood of convictions, not all rape survivors have access to these services
Rape Crisis currently offers court support at five regional Cape Town courts, we’re lobbying the Government to make sure that specialised courts are rolled out countrywide.
To support us, visit www.rapecrisis.org.za, and be there for a rape survivor all the way to the completion of the trial.
Mike Thompson Change a Life Trust: A dream come true for co-ordinator, Joyce Nomxhego Doni
In March we celebrated the completion of our first order of 1 300 care pack bags!
Many rape survivors go home to situations where they are disempowered by their financial situation. Being able to earn for the first time, by sewing the care pack bags that will be given to rape survivors who have been for a forensic examination, has begun to change their lives.
Thank you to the Mike Thompson Change a Life Trust and all those involved for making this dream a reality.
We’ve also started preparing for the planting of an indigenous food garden at the start of the rainy season, led by Loubie Rusch and Bridget Impey. An enormous thank you to: Niels Colesky from GreenGro Gardens for the labour; to Revelstone for the pavers; and Reliance Compost for a huge discount on the compost.
To find out more, visit the Change a Life Facebook page.
The Greatest Gift of Caring
The greatest gift of caring that you can give to the loved ones in your life and to anything else that’s important to you, is to have a valid and up to date Will. The chaos of an intestate death is too much to bear for people who are struggling with loss and grief.
Once their families and others close to them have been looked after in their Will, many people also want to leave a bequest to a cause that’s close to their heart – perhaps one that they’ve already supported, and in which they really believe. Should you be one of these people, please would you consider Rape Crisis as an extra beneficiary in your Will. It would be our privilege to give you more information, should you be interested.