Activist Training – Applications Now Open at Rape Crisis

The Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust has a 40 year history of training activists to bring about change in the way we deal with rape in our society. The need for radical change in our country is still as strong as ever but there is not a lot of training for individuals or groups on how to bring about this kind of deep sustainable transformation.

Over the years Rape Crisis has trained counsellors, community educators and activists from the communities we serve in the hope of leaving a legacy that strengthens and empowers the women of these communities to respond to rape and to stand up for their rights.

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The Rape Survivors’ Justice Campaign was launched in 2016. (Pic: Alexa Sedge)

Change at the community level is not enough. Rates of rape in South Africa are very high. We grew up with a culture of violence where violence was part and of everyday life. The system we grew up in is a system that allows violence to go on unchecked. In particular the criminal justice system, which does not recognise the needs to rape survivors in bringing rapists to justice. That is why Rape Crisis launched the Rape Survivors’ Justice Campaign in 2016 to persuade and pressurise government to roll out specialised sexual offences courts across South Africa. We believe that this will strengthen the criminal justice system as a way of addressing high rates of rape in our country.

Do you want to develop or strengthen your own political consciousness?  Do you want to make a difference beyond individual change? Become an activist by joining our training and becoming a volunteer for Rape Crisis.

We are about to embark on a new training programme for community activists who would like to build their organising skills and abilities. Our course deals with the political aspects of rape in South Africa and trains people to organise and lobby for change.

We are looking for a diverse group of participants so whether you come from the communities we serve and are based in or whether you live outside of these communities, we encourage you to apply. If you are actively involved, either in your own community or on social media, and you care about violence against women then this is course is for you. We are looking for people with a wide range of skills and abilities but if you think you have leadership skills and like to organise people and events then this will be an advantage. We are looking for volunteers who are reasonably literate and self-confident and who are critical thinkers. By the end of the course our advocacy volunteers should be able to engage with and persuade groups of people, be able to take initiative and plan well and be able to work in a team.

To get your application form and for more information, please contact our advocacy coordinator, Jeanne Bodenstein at jeanne@rapecrisis.org.za  or call her on 021 447 1467 from Monday – Friday between 9:30am and 4pm. Applications close on 12 May 2017.

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Campaign booklets. (Pic: Alexa Sedge)

The three month series of training workshops that make up the first part of the course will take place in Observatory during the day on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but starting and ending off on a Saturday, starting Saturday 27 May 2017. This will be followed by six months of practical on the job training. Although the training is not SAQA or SETA accredited at this stage, assessment takes place throughout the full process of the training course after which participants will be requested to complete a written examination before graduating.

Who should apply?

  • People 18 years and older
  • From the areas of Athlone, Khayelitsha and Cape Town
  • People who are currently unemployed, doing casual work or students;
  • People who are available to volunteer during the day.
  • Be able to speak English

Expectations of Volunteers:

We expect volunteers to be able to commit to a minimum of eight hours of your free time per month after the workshop series is over in order to participate in advocacy activities, and to attend focus group meetings and buddy group meetings once a month. Volunteers will also be invited to attend volunteer forum meetings and general meetings of the broader organisation four times a year in total.

Course fees:

The cost of the course is R4 000 with a non-refundable registration fee of R1 500. Payment options can be negotiated so the course fee should not be something that stops you from applying.

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Peer Educator Graduation: Challenging Social Norms to Prevent Sexual Violence

To effectively combat sexual violence, it is not enough to treat its symptoms: we must also work to prevent it by addressing root causes.

This is the drive behind the Rape Crisis Birds and Bees Peer Educator initiative, run in collaboration with schools that have been identified as at high risk for sexual violence. Students who enter the programme graduate aware of the myths and social norms that enable sexual violence; able to support survivors and refer them to Rape Crisis services; and committed to raising awareness amongst their peers.

The most recent Peer Educator graduation ceremony, at Joe Slovo Engineering High School in Khayelitsha, was a proud moment for all the learners, educators and Rape Crisis staff involved.

The most recent Peer Educator graduation ceremony, at Joe Slovo Engineering High School in Khayelitsha, was a proud moment for all the learners, educators and Rape Crisis staff involved.

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Peer Educators learn to challenge the stigma and misconceptions around rape through this programme, and go on to become leaders and role models within not only their schools, but their communities.

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Thandile, who spoke on behalf of the class during the ceremony, says he will spread the Rape Crisis message all over the school. “It was a good experience that gave me many ideas. I can make sure someone doesn’t feel lonely, I can make them feel loved and happy.”

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“Often learners who join this programme reveal that they are rape survivors themselves and never told anyone as they feared judgement or labeling. They have now gained confidence as they now know their right and how to claim them” says Rape Crisis Training and Development Co-ordinator Kholeka Booi

 

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“This Rape Crisis programme is so valuable,” reflected Ms Mbanga, an educator at Joe Slovo, “So many people have been raped but don’t know what to do. If Rape Crisis keeps training young learners, they can help the whole community”.

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Happily clutching her certificate and black Peer Educator t-shirt, Amanda says she enjoyed the whole process. “It was fun, and I can use all the information I learned to help other people. If I see someone do something wrong, I can tell them that it’s wrong and stop them”.

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“They have been so dedicated and committed” Ms Mbanga can attest, “and I have seen a great change in each of them. They have gained skills, maturity and a spirit of teamwork.”

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This new generation of Peer Educators will be able to open a dialogue with their friends, classmates and families that represents a more informed approach to a difficult subject.

The Rape Crisis Birds and Bees project is supported by the MATCH International Women’s Fund and Oxfam Australia

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Athlone: Mobilising for Change

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.

1We 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.

2Rape 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.

3 Community members discussed how these issues affect their daily lives and shared their own experiences.

4Together 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.

5We 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.

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