Can you help someone recover from the trauma of rape? Yes you can.

In order to help a rape survivor recover from their experience with sexual violence, there’s much rebuilding to do. And slowly, a survivor receives the tools and information about choices that will restore personal power and resilience, and lead on to healing.

Who will take this journey with her from the time of the incident, to the police station, to the forensic examination and, if she chooses, to court? It will be a counsellor who has been specifically trained in how to hold her pain.

Barbara Williams, Counselling Coordinator

Barbara Williams, Counselling Coordinator. (Photo: Alexa Sedge)

You can decide to be that counsellor who makes that journey with the survivor. Or you can make it possible for someone else to be that counsellor.

The counselling training programme comes at a price and it’s here that we need your support, because many more counsellors are needed. Your contribution will not only grow the survivor, it will grow the family, the neighbourhood, the community and the country.

With much gratitude,

Barbara Williams
Counselling Coordinator, Athlone

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Mandela Day: 67 Minutes of Impact

The goal of our Mandela Day event was to pack 1300 care packs to be distributed at Thuthuzela Care Centres for rape survivors. The community came together with a determined spirit and gave their time to achieve this goal.

Checklists based on gender and age group were distributed to each individual who packed a care pack. As participants went around to the tables which were stocked different supplies, they checked off each item to ensure that the care pack was properly filled.

Tables were set up around the room, each with a different item to contribute to the care packs. Items on tables included soap, lotion, roll-on, shampoo, sanitary pads, etc. Some items were separated based on age and gender to best fit the recipient’s needs.

After volunteers finished their checklists, they returned their care pack to the final table where the bags were checked and categorized depending on the recipient. The bags for the care packs are hand-sewn by a member of Change a Life sewing project at the Rape Crisis Khayelitsha office which empowers members and provides an opportunity for economic contribution.

After the bags were packed, individuals went to the craft table where they could make a card to be packed in the bags. The table brought together people of all ages to put their coloring skills to use to make beautiful cards.

In addition to the crafting of cards, there was also an opportunity to learn how to crochet and craft “creatures.” The crocheting area gathered women and men together as they learned a new skill and shared stories. After the crocheted items were completed, a tag with a personal message was attached.

Our annual Mandela Day event was a success thanks to your help. The photos above are only a few of many that were taken throughout the day. Look for more to be posted on our Facebook page. Thank you to everyone that helped us reach our goal of 1300 care packs.

Photography by Rachel Yen

Rachel Yen

Rachel is currently a second year student studying sociology, media studies, and Spanish at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is interning with the communications team to gain skills in media and nonprofit work.


My Experience of the Rape Crisis Counsellor Training Course

Summing up the last few months of training at Rape Crisis in a short blog is not an easy task. Having just completed the training course to become a counsellor, I cannot believe the amount we have learned in what seems like such a short space of time.

After the interviewing process, eight of us arrived at the first session a little apprehensive and unsure of what to expect. We were warmly welcomed by the facilitators and quickly felt at home. The first section of the training course was personal growth, which was particularly enriching but also unearthed some painful memories for some people. This section gave each of us a chance to come to terms with the reality that South Africa faces and grapple the subjects that many feel are taboo. However, this was not enough to deter us as we moved through to the next section of the course.


Next we learned about the political, legal, medical, psychological and social aspects of rape, the Criminal Justice System and the counselling relationship. These were very informative and formed the basis of the vital knowledge needed in order to counsel rape survivors. We were able to get a sense of what a rape survivor goes through after he or she has been raped and how we can support someone going through this. We learned principles of empowerment and feminist counselling which helps us to respect the survivor, make her feel safe, offer her support and give her choices.


The third and last section of this training course was the practical side of counselling. This included counselling skills, techniques, boundaries and limit setting and how to assess and refer a client. In this section we did lots of role play activities which helped us work through scenarios that we may come across. Before long, we were all feeling much more confident in ourselves. This section also gave us a chance to apply all the skills and knowledge we had learnt so far in a practical way.

Surprisingly, despite the subject matter of the course, we did not feel disheartened, helpless or disempowered. Instead, it helped us to see how we can be a part of change in someones life. The following quote comes to mind and is apt for our group:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead


For me, this course has been a life-changing experience. Through all the journal-writing, contributing and hearing others’ contributions, role-playing and debates, we have grown and become more self-aware and more in-tune with today’s societal issues as well as the issues that a rape survivor may face. For the first time, I was a part of the change and what a great feeling that was!  All in all, this course far exceeded my expectations and I feel very grateful to have been a part of it.

Clara Duvill currently volunteers at the Observatory office


Our special thanks to the following individuals and companies who contributed toward this training course.The excess funds raised will go toward our next course.

Pick ‘n Pay, MKEM, Tessa Hochveld, Kim Hochveld, Omotayo Jolaosho, Ralph Immerman, Marelize Barnard, Georgina Jones, Chantelle de Nobrega, Bregje Wijsenbeek, Jacques Maree, Michael Evans, Joanne Kriel, Johathan Wacks, Kathleen Thelen, Melissa Milne, Joanne Levitan, Tessa Drews, Lou Smaldino, Kate Morris, Cheryl Brown, Jane Raphaely, R.Farber, Ani Schneider, Tiffany Venter, Richard Andrew and Johne Otto.


Congratulations to our new counsellors

By Shiralee Mc Donald (Counselling Coordinator, Observatory)

Graduation of Observatory’s newly trained counsellors.

Saturday February 4th saw the graduation of seven volunteer counsellors for the Observatory Counselling Service, four newly recruited and trained Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC) counsellors and four counsellors recruited from our volunteer body trained in child trauma counselling.  It was a lovely informal affair with Nazma Hendricks (Operations Manager) handing out certificates to the volunteer counsellors.  We were fortunate to have Wonique Dreyer who trained and supervises the TCC counsellors handing out certificates to the TCC counsellors.  Samantha Harris and her twins kept us entertained and officially welcomed everyone into the focus group.


New Volunteers

Certificate handover

Certificate handover

For more pictures please go to our Facebook Group here.