Making Change as a Rape Crisis Peer Ed

Being a peer educator (peer ed) is so much more than just a label that was given to me because I completed a course. It’s a responsibility that I need to fulfill with the utmost seriousness. Many might feel that being a peer ed is a burden; I see it as a privilege.

I, Monique, am a Rape Crisis Peer Educator and I am proud hereof. When starting this program, I was unaware of the impact it would have on me. I must admit when entering this programme, I was anxious and scared to an extent. Being around a group of ‘strangers’ made me a bit uneasy.

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Obstacle course at the Peer Ed camp in Simonstown. Pic: Alexa Sedge.

I can remember when we were told to do our ‘River of Life’ activity – fear immediately settled in me. Not because I had to speak in front of 21 ‘strangers’ but because I had to show others who I really was. I had to show others all the things which made my childhood not so pleasant: all the things that I had locked away and although I wanted to throw away the key, I couldn’t. So there I was revealing what I had kept inside for years – it was scary. I had hated the fact that I had to be vulnerable. However, as each of my peers went up, I could see that we all had a dark past and that sunshine was scarce. What I learnt from that activity was that we need to scratch open our old wounds in order for them to heal properly. I realised that in order for me to help others, I had to help myself first. That activity made me realise something else as well: that’s what rape survivors have to go through when telling complete strangers about their traumatic experience, trusting others with what they would perhaps have kept to themselves.

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Athlone Peer Eds Pic: Alexa Sedge

Throughout this programme, I learnt something valuable from each session. I learnt to trust others which is something I do not often do. When we did role plays, I learnt of the stigma related to those being raped and how they are judged. I also learnt many things about HIV and AIDS and the stigma related to those who are positive. I learnt of our rights, responsibilities, and the rights of survivors. We were given many worksheets throughout, which we had to read, but personally the worksheets on how to help and assist survivors were the most important. There was a lot of information that was given to us, from contraceptives to our menstrual cycle, but the most important thing I learnt was that rape is a serious offence. I therefore want to be part of the change because many cases go unreported.

Being part of the Rape Crisis family has been really great for me. We laugh together, cry together, and share a lot of memories. I want to thank the facilitators for doing a super job. Keep inspiring others and molding new leaders. Although my course is complete, my journey as a peer ed has just begun.

Monique Booysen 

Monique is one of our Athlone high school Peer Educators. She is an active change-maker, challenging myths and stereotypes and changing attitudes around rape. 

 

Our Peer Education programme is made possible through the generous support of Oxfam Germany and BMZ.

 

 

 

 

 

Youth for Change.

STOP THE BUS DAY THREE

It’s already 30deg. Celsius this morning the temperature is going to rise everyone is getting ready. Sun hats! check, water bottles! check, sun block cream! check.  It’s off to Rawsonville police station to meet up with Sergeant Hurling Jordan from the crime prevention team. Sergeants Williams and Ferreira accompanied her to join the team to do door to door on the farms.

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Speaking to ladies in town.

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DSCN0871 DSCN0875 DSCN0897 DSCN0908 DSCN0975 While waiting on the sergeants the team took the opportunity and gave out pamphlets to passersby and also dropped  off some Rape crisis booklet at the police station.

The first farm Gabriere then it was Merwede. All the farm workers have return to work after the strike. The people who were at home received us well and invited us into their homes. They felt free to ask questions around rape and all types of abuse. The team also gave out pamphlets with the Rape Crisis contact numbers.

You would never had said that there was unrest in this area until the bus pulled off at the side of the road. Vineyards  were set alight on Tuesday during the strike.

Then it was door to door in Da Nova an Informal Settlement in Rawsonville. People in this area claim that they have no rape, domestic violence and abuse, but while others say there is.This community was encouraged to report crime and to break the silence.

The team has to do an interview at slot at 12pm  Valley fm Radio.The Topics were Myths, how to support a survivor.   Shaamiela, Tuthu and Thobeke explained what the survivor has to go through if there is no support for her.This talk was done in Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.Listeners  were encourage to support the survivors and not to protect the perpetrators. DSCN0981The team  left for  Zwelethemba a community just outside Worcester. The leader of this youth group a lady social worker named Thembeka, invited Rape Crisis. There were 27 youth, ages 14-20 years.The youth does outreach in this area and is involved in many projects.  This group Zwakala Youth for Christ engaged in the talk ask questions and showed much interest. They wanted to know why survivors feel emotional at court, when are survivors ready to testify, can men be rape, when to disclose and when is it a gang rape, these are the type of questions the group asked.The two facilitators Evelynne and Tuthu answered all their questions and  addressed all their concerns, they were also encouraged to network with other Organisations.

It’s 5pm the team is off to our accomadation to debrief and to pack for the next day.

Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust wishes to thank our donor Department of Social Development (DSD)  that made Stop the Bus 2012 possible.  Department of Social Development Provincial Logo