Find your safe spaces!!!

20 Aug

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I am a survivor and many years ago I approached POWA for counseling, healing and then training on abuse. I needed the healing to move on and the training, so I could use my brand to create awareness, but I needed to be equipped with the correct knowledge. A few weeks back, I was invited to participate on a panel on a local TV program, called The Daily Thetha, which airs on SABC1. The Daily Thetha is an educational talk show on SABC 1 that explores youth issues as well as, issues of national importance.
The topic was on the #MeToo movement which has spread across the world. On arrival at the studio, I met with my panel, Mara Glennie who founded the Tears Foundation, Zoe Ramashu from SWIFT, Melusi Xulu, an attorney. It is so great to have met and spent time with individuals who are passionate about bringing change to our country. I had to share the amazing work that they do. We will only combat​ this if we collectively​ do our bit.


Mara Glennie’s who started the Tears Foundations, her motivation to help others comes from a deeply personal place.
The meaning of the “TEAR”
Tear Drop
“Our teardrop logo is a symbol for weeping at the violence and degradation suffered by rape and abuse victims; but, more importantly, it is a symbol of cleansing, healing, and hope”
TEARS’ developed a system that uses a simple SMS code and GPS location to allow other survivors to connect with much-needed​ help from their nearest care centre, immediately. They are able to do this because of the help they received from others. They run their foundation from a fully equipped office in Sandton, kindly given to them by Dr. John Wentzel and the Tsebo Outsourcing Group.

The sms details are:
*134*7355#

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Donda Attorneys

Zamakhathini Melusi Xulu is a practicing attorney from Durban. He strongly believes that as a lawyer, it is important and instrumental that he be a servant leader to bring justice to​ our society. He graduated from the University of Zululand with an LLB degree. Prior to him starting his firm he has worked for Legal Aid South Africa (Vryheid Justice Centre)as a Candidate attorney; Siyaya Attorneys in Durban, as a legal practitioner and researcher and he worked for The National Prosecuting Authority as a prosecutor (in Free State) from 2014 to 2018.
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Advice from me.

Speaking as a survivor, I understand the pain and anguish that surrounds​ any form of abuse. The trauma that arises is serious and if not treated accordingly can lead to many other problems such as depression, fibromyalgia, suicide, ​and anxiety.
Each crime is different and can be handled in a ​number of ways, but the most important​​ thing to remember​ is that it is not your fault and that you have the right​ to speak up. It is also very important​ that you find a safe​ space to share your pain and story for healing and assistance.

Sexual harassment​ at work:
The minute it happens you should report it to the authorities, keeping a paper trail is essential, so in the case of sexual harassment​ at work​, one should send an email and ensuring that the head of the department receives it. In various corporate companies, there are HR procedures. For actors in SA, my suggestion would be to immediately report it to SA (SA Guild of actors). You need to be a member to benefit from​ the amazing services. http://www.saguildofactors.co.za
If you​ are physically harmed, seek immediate​ medical attention and keep as much evidence as possible. With evidence, this may be uncomfortable​, but in the case​ of sexual assault, if the perpetrator touched any items, such as glass or plate, simply put your hand in a plastic​ bag and cover the plate. This ensures that your hand or fingerprints​ do not smudge​d the perpetrators. Any bit of evidence is crucial. You have every right to speak up and out on it.

In the case of sexual assault/rape/sodomy​.
The first step, the survivor shouldn’t wash or change their underwear as that would be literally cleaning away the evidence. Secondly, ​go to the nearest police station or nearest medical centre. If you start at a medical centre, they will call the police. If you start with​ the police, the police will take you to a medical centre. After getting the statement, you’ll be treated by a doctor, and smears will be taken and given back to the police. Those smears will be taken to forensics to​ try and verify the perpetrator. One of the biggest issues comes with reporting​ the crime. At the station,​ if a policeman​ or women refuses to open the case based on their personal beliefs​, take​ their badge number and report​​ them immediately​.

Your rights as a survivor:
You are permitted to have a person of your choice present to support and reassure you when reporting an incident.

The interview will be conducted in surroundings that are either familiar to or reassuring to you.

Once sufficient information has been obtained from you, a docket must be opened, registered on the CAS and an affidavit must be made.

You must be taken for the medical examination as soon as possible – even if the sexual offense​ was only reported more than 72 hours after it had been committed, and even if you have already washed.

The medical examination will be conducted at state expense and by a medical professional.

No man may be present during the medical examination of a female survivor, and vice versa. Even a member of the same gender may only be present during the medical examination if you as a survivor agrees to it. ​

You will​ come across people who will try and make you doubt your words, they will ridicule you, it is ok, it is not their journey and pain. You need to understand that your pain is valid and by not stopping it, you will not heal. Your healing could possibly prevent future abuse crimes, as the perpetrator will be stopped immediately. remember perpetrators continue​ to commit these crimes as they have been given the permission​ to and often have people protecting​ them.

It is important​ to share your ordeal in safe spaces, spaces where people have your best interest at heart and will be willing to help and assist​ you.

Contact details:
POWA:
http://www.powa.co.za

Tears:
http://www.tears.co.za

​​​​​

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