What is a Thuthuzela Care Centre?
Thuthuzela Care Centres, or TCCs, are one-stop facilities for rape survivors. They are unique in that they offer all services (counselling, physical exams, and law enforcement) under one roof. This makes it logistically easier for survivors to report a rape, and helps to lessen the amount of secondary trauma a survivor experiences. If it weren’t for these centres, survivors would have to go to a hospital, police station, and counselling centre all on their own; repeating their story each time.
What can you expect when you walk into a TCC?
The TCC’s first priority is you. They want to make you as comfortable as possible. It should be noted that the process is flexible, and can be tailored to you. If you do not want to file a case, you are under no obligation to do so. The Centre will keep all evidence for three months. You can wait and decide later whether you want to file a case or not.
What services does a TCC offer?
Counselling: You will meet with a counsellor and receive immediate counselling and support. The counsellor will answer any of your questions and give you a better understanding of the physical exam and legal process (should you choose to file a case). By knowing what to expect, some of your stress and fear can be alleviated.
Law Enforcement: A law enforcement official will be present to gather your testimony. This is your account of the rape, and is needed if you want to file a case. It is important to know that you did nothing wrong, and the detective is not there to get you in trouble. Again, you are not required to file a case. It is your decision.
Medical Personnel: This is the person that will conduct the physical exam, and provide you with any necessary preventative treatments (i.e. HIV/STI or pregnancy) that you may need. The physical exam is invasive, but is necessary to collect evidence and ensure that you receive proper treatment.
After your medical exam you will be given a Care Pack and the opportunity to shower. It is important not to shower before, because it makes it more difficult to gather evidence. These Care Packs are filled with soap, shampoo, conditioner, fresh underwear, a snack and a few other items.
To speak with a counsellor, or to find the counselling centre nearest to you, call the 24 hour Crisis Line at 021 447 9762.
Want to get involved? Come to our Mandela Day Care Pack Drive.
By Olivia Mashak
Olivia is the Communications Intern for the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust. She is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Public Relations and Advertising and a minor in Hospitality. She has a passion for non-profit work and her Hairless Chinese Crested dog, Pandora.