Rape Crisis Cape Town

Project: Stop the Bus Campaign, tackling sexual violence in rural South Africa

Location: South Africa, Western Cape Province

Partner: Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust

The situation

In South Africa, despite the existence of legislation such as the Domestic Violence Act, women survivors of sexual and domestic violence struggle to get appropriate support and protection:

  • Women living in rural areas  face even more of a challenge to access their rights
  • On average there are over 67,000 reported cases of sexual violence annually
  • Thousands more women do not report such crimes due to embarrassment, trauma, and fear of not being believed or of victimization
  • Many women survivors  are physically and financially  unable to access support and services
  • Many women are put off reporting their cases in the knowledge that only 1% of reports ends in a conviction
  • Those that do contact the Police are often treated with hostility and indifference.

What we did

Womankind and our partner Rape Crisis Cape Town worked to support survivors of rape in remote areas. The Stop the Bus Campaign travels to rural towns with high levels of sexual violence and works with women to understand their rights to services and how to access them. In particular we:

  • Supported thousands of local women and girls to understand their rights, come forward and report rape, and to remain within the Criminal Justice System until their case is finalised
  • Worked with local organisations to strengthen their ability to monitor that the Police are fulfilling their obligations

Women’s voices

Abigail, 27yrs, took part in the Rape Crisis Cape Town volunteer training course and is now a qualified Rape Crisis Facilitator.

“The course itself was fantastic!  I felt free to talk.  I learned to express myself, to say what I think and what I feel.  There was lots of interaction on the course.  I could open up about things I never shared, even with people close to me.  We really had an amazing bond. …. I have gained so much knowledge in getting advice from the other counsellors in my group and also from giving them advice myself.  We all grow and improve our skills on how to handle clients and how to handle our emotions.”

Overall she says the course has changed her life.  “I’ve grown and matured as a woman.  I’m not afraid to express myself even in English, both speaking and writing, which is not my first language.  I’m not afraid to say how I feel.  Before [this course] I was never like that.” – Abigail