Tag Archives: SAPolice

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

​​​​​

The war on women’s bodies.

23 May

The war on our bodies has been an ongoing struggle for decades, dating back to the 1970’s. People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) was formed in 1979 by a group of women volunteers in order to provide referral services and shelter to women experiencing domestic violence.
The word “jack-roll” or ‘jack rolling”, started during the 1980s by a gang called ‘the jackrollers’, it was the abduction of women in townships who would then subjected to lengthly periods of gang rape.

It was only after The Bill Of Rights was signed, did women receive formal recognition as equal citizens. For many years South African women were under the legal control of their fathers and husbands, this is still the same in many African countries.
The domestic violence act 116 of 1998 was signed: To provide for the issuing of protection orders with regard to domestic violence; and for matters connected therewith.

About ten years ago, somebody asked me when I will stop marching and pushing the anti-abuse campaign, my answer was when the abuse stops.

I have written many blogs on the state of affairs regarding rape and abuse in 2014 I wrote about a women who called out for help after she had been raped, she called on the police for assistance, her response came from the Hillbrow police station where six policemen( Men) were called to a rape case, they found the perpetrator and let him go. The survivor was present and requested medical attention, they denied that and told her to sleep it off as she had been drinking. I have highlighted on many cases where survivors have received ill treatment from police personnel when trying to report a case. Like many activists and organisations, this outcry and call has been the forefront of many campaigns, yet there has been very little change.
Over the past years we have seen the disrespect of women’s lives from the very publicised murder cases such as Oscar Pistorius, who killed his girlfriend Reeve Steenkamp and received a reduced jail sentence to Shrien Devani who was acquitted for murdering his wife Anna Dewani and Thato Kutumela who was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for the murder of his girlfriend, Zanele Khumalo. Former Soweto community radio presenter Donald “Donald Duck” Sebolai was sentenced to 20 years in prison for murdering his girlfriend, Rachel “Dolly” Tshabalala.
Unfortunately they have been hundreds if not thousands who have gone unnoticed.

Women in our present day still face many obstacles and challenges which can be related to poverty, violence and abuse in the home, unemployment, access to quality health care and legal representation.
Financial dependance of their male partners or husbands has increased vulnerability to domestic violence and rape.
The girl child has been greatly affected by the personal home front as well as discrimination at school, from the subject choices which have seen to be suitable fro male learners, girls have been sexually harassed, raped and abuse, some forced to drop out due to teenage pregnancy, possibly caused by rape. Many young girls miss school during their menstrual cycles as they cannot afford sanitary towels and tampons.

Over the past few weeks there has been in increase in reported crimes against women. These barbaric acts have been publicised and there has been a huge outcry from all sectors, that we need an intervention. This is true but we need to understand and own up to the fact that this has been on ongoing problem for years. The change that has occurred is that more incidents are being reported and now we hear a strong outcry from men.
The rate of crimes and murders that have escalated within the LGBT community. Due to the stigma attached many cases are not even heard and still remain unresolved.

Where to from now?
To start with, our men need to hold each other accountable. Many years ago I dated a man who’s business partner continuously made jokes about beating up women and this frustrated me, causing many arguments in our home. My then partners undermining attitude was that it was just a joke and I should get over it by response was and still is the same, if you joke about it, you condone the action. We need to create a shift in our conversations and attitudes towards women.

Gender equality starts in the home. There should not be gender specific roles for boys and girls, parents should be seen as equal. Children are taught and emulate what their parents do. Fighting in the home has proven to have lifelong effects on children. Many people decide to remain in abusive relationships as they feel that separation will affect the children, the violence and hatred is what affects the children.
If incidents happen at schools and remain unresolved, notify the department of eduction. No child should be scared to go to school or face any form df discrimination whilst trying to get an education.

The police need to be held accountable. Correct protocol measures need to be adhered with taking down reports, recording crimes and treatment of survivors.
We need harsher laws for rapists and abusers. Women need to stop being blamed for what happened to them. Victim blaming is still a major concern. I have made many reports and complaints to IPD with no response but if we get large number of valid complaints, then action will take place. Their contact details are:  
Address in Gauteng City Forum Building
 114 Madiba Street
 Pretoria
Telephone number: 012 399 0000

Email address

Complaints@ipid.gov.za

Our minister of police Mr Fikile Mbalula is very active on twitter: @mbalulafikile
 
Social media, should be used for good and not just scandal. If an incident occurs, recording it is necessary but so is justice. Record the dialogue and images but also record relevant information such as car number plates, what the perpetrator looks like, the exact location of where the crime takes place, such as a road sign, building structure etc
One should notify the police immediately and seek help for the survivor. We should make more citizen complaints, hold our police accountable. There are too many reported cased where investigating officers receive bribes and then in questioning the survivors, telling them that they should drop the case and convince them that they would not survive long trails. Granted trials are long and tedious and the incident will have to be repeated many a times but by keeping quiet will not help as the incident will still be repeated in your mind.

If you need assistance here are a few organisations that I have worked with and strongly endorse:

1. FEW: Forum For The Empowerment of Women
Call: +27 11 403 1906/7

Social media:
@forumfortheempowermentofwomen

Email
project1@few.org.za

Website:
http://www.few.org.za

FEW was established by black lesbian women activists living in Johannesburg in 2001.In a post 1994 South Africa and with the new constitution of 1996 recognising sexual orientation within the equality clause, it was clear that we had to organize ourselves to ensure that we were able to claim and live the rights entrenched in the constitution. Already, with increasing numbers of LGBTI people coming out and being visible both in everyday life as well as within human rights defending work, the age-old issues of discrimination, stigmatisation and marginalization were becoming more blatant. The group which initially began the conversation about organizing black lesbian women were concerned that within the broader LGBTI and women’s human rights issues, black lesbian women were more vulnerable because of intersecting identities, contexts and realities.
We also recognised the power within our community – both black lesbian women, women in general and the LGBTI community – to confront the abuses that were being perpetrated against us in a democratic South Africa. Initially, the focus was on social space and service provision, including counseling and information, education and communication on key issues, health and related realities of lesbian lives. A key focus was on the issue of hate crimes, particularly rape and sexual assault, which were being reported in growing numbers. The hate crimes were being perpetrated based on assumptions about sexual orientation and gender identity which were seen as deviant and so worthy of responses by communities. This homophobia was directed at all LGBTI people, but the targeting of black lesbian women for this “fixing” was obvious and linked to the patriarchal nature of our society which in turn fed heteronormativity. Projects included a small scholarship fund for survivors of hate crime related violence, drama and soccer as processes to engage with black lesbian women.

2. POWA: people Opposing Women Abuse:
Telephone: -11 642 4345/6
infor@powa.co.za
Twitter: @powa_za

POWA is a “feminist, women’s rights organisation that provides both services, and engages in advocacy in order to ensure the realisation of women’s rights and thereby improve women’s quality of life”.
POWA’s uniqueness as an organisation is in providing both services to survivors and engaging in advocacy using a feminist and intersectional analysis. Our work is rooted in the belief that change can only be said to be effective when women’s lives are directly improved through our interventions. We also believe that there is no single route to change, and thus constantly seek new and creative approaches in our programming to achieve the change we seek.

Frontline Services – Shelters, counseling, and legal advice
As one of our core frontline services, POWA provides shelter services for clients (and their children where relevant) who have been the victims of GBV. These services are located in the East and West Rand, and a “second stage” house is located in Berea. POWA also provides several forms of counselling to clients (including shelter clients), such as face-to-face counselling, support groups (facilitated by a social worker) and telephone counselling and referrals. The Legal and Advocacy Department at POWA also assist women (approximately 50 per month) with telephonic and face-to-face-legal advice to women, court preparation and support, and referral to other professionals and practitioners (pro bono).

Advocacy
The Legal and Advocacy Department at POWA works to “provide quality women-centred legal service and engage in national and regional advocacy for the protection and promotion of women’s rights.” POWA’s advocacy work includes advocating for legal reform, for example, parliamentary law reform submissions as well as strategic litigation. We actively participate in national advocacy. We are a member of the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR), a network of 26 Civil Society Organisations and Development Partners. In South Africa, POWA is the lead organisation spearheading the eight-nation Raising Her Voice Campaign, working to empower women to hold governments accountable to commitments on GBV and HIV.

Aluta Continua.

To continue the dialogue contact me via Facebook or twitter:
@RosieMotene.