Outrage Won’t End The Violence

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She wasn’t drunk. She wasn’t wearing anything provocative. She wasn’t being a smart ass. She wasn’t walking around at odd hours. She merely went to collect a package at the post office, during the day, but she was still raped and killed.

“Violence and abuse against women have no place in our society. Government is calling on women to speak out and not allow themselves to become victims by keeping quiet. Women who speak out are able to act, affect change and help others has created a widespread outrage amongst women and women groups in SA.”

The recent tweet by the South African Government

Our constitution is amongst the best in the world, yet our politicians hold women responsible for their own rape and abuse. This is a weeping matter.

These are some relevant comments from Women’s movements in SA

“August 2019: Happy Women’s Month? What is “happy” about women’s month when we are dying at the hands of men?

President Cyril Ramaphosa:

We are tired of statements and boardroom meetings with tea and muffins.
We are tired of condolences and your condemning of SGBVF. We are tired of conferences and parades of high-budgeted events and talk shows. We are tired of marching to your building and handing over petitions that are thrown in the “to attend to later” pile in some of your offices.

We are tired of hearing grandstanding leaders talking about a ‘Good story’ to tell when our communities are screaming in fear. We are tired of mourning our sisters, mothers, children, and selves.

What do we have to do for this war on our existence?”

The Total Shutdown Movement post on 03 September 2019 – 10,588 Members

“After yesterday’s tumultuous day of emotional depth beyond words, we urgently request that all of our members stay calm in our united responsibility to take this to the next level of our intended and purpose-filled action’’.

SA Women Fight Back on Facebook posted on 03 September 2019 – 97, 641 Members

“Our country is in trouble. Our women are in the front of the firing line”.

Get up Woman posted 03 September 2019 – 37,922 Members

Uyinene, Aneen, Karabo, Reeva, many, many more.? Crimes against women in South Africa has become an uncontrollable, vicious cycle where women and children are sexually assaulted and murdered with little to no justice for the ones that are left behind to pick up the pieces. We as a movement must find our voice to bring back the death sentence for crimes against women and children in the Hopes of saving this great country.

During the first 6 months of 2019, TEARS has offered immediate support and linkages to health and the justice system to 57, 318 women via our ‘Help at Your Fingertips’ free to the user helpline number(the majority of which are women). Due to lack of funding, we cannot completely pursue our obligation of assisting women to find hope and healing. The service provides users with details of their nearest service providers dealing with rape, abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. Using the platform (dialing *134*7355#), the survivor/victim receives the contact numbers of 3 locally based organizations (hospitals, counseling facility or SAPS) that would provide them with the necessary assistance to start their journey to healing, free of charge.

Did you know?

Victims of abuse often suffer multiple abuse due to the system, they are frequently NOT helped by the police, judged by their family and friends, blamed for being a victim, questioned about what they wore, why they were at the place, did they drink, etc. they lose their jobs, and more!

Mara Glennie, Founder of TEARS Foundation gave up her well-paying position to assist other women who have experienced abuse because she could not get the help she needed from the police! She says this has not stopped and that a further form of abuse that victims suffer is not being able to access the assistance they need or even have a proper place to live where they can start a new life (not a shelter) The abuse continues, yet government only funds the tip of the iceberg and NGO’s carry the burden of much-needed services with the help of donations. Mara writes; “I am profoundly aware of the magnitude of the trauma (often internalized and silenced) that emanated as a direct consequence of apartheid violence and that the effects reverberate to this day.

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Mara Glennie Founder of TEARS Foundation

I do not shy away from the hard conversations and the complex and complicated work that is required to work at the intersections of violence, trauma, and oppression and I successfully navigate the balance between supporting and compassionate direct services and evidence-informed and effective prevention, recognizing that both need our attention.

As a collaborator, I believe that together we can make a difference and meet the challenges faced in South Africa. My survivor-centered approach is an important aspect of my work. I have fought to advance the rights of women and children since 1981. As part of my commitment to sexual violence survivors, I have developed a free support programme for victims and survivors, “Help at your Fingertips.”

My innovations have won numerous awards. Our work is paving the way for innovative approaches to treating trauma, igniting shifts in the way the public views and responds to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse and reforming legislation to ensure justice for survivors. We live in a patriarchal society where rape and abuse lead the list of crimes and to our shame, yet our society does not take it seriously.

We aim to partner with like-minded organizations and leaders across the globe to bring about change in the way we deal with the rape epidemic. This can only be achieved through radical change, action, collaboration, education, and training individuals and groups to bring about a deep and lasting sustainable transformation.

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Mara Glennie and President Cyril Ramaphosa

The TEARS Foundation is committed to survivors’ voices being heard at a strategic national level and towards driving a progressive response to the issue of sexual violence. Survivors and their needs are at the very heart of what we do. Our core principle is that dignity, respect, and recovery for survivors are always at the center of our approach. We are committed to a reliable evidence base to achieve our goals of providing nationally coordinated best practice responses and social change which protects the human rights of survivors and prevents further victimization.

A core aspect of our work in vindicating survivors’ rights and meeting their needs is to work progressively on the issue of sexual violence to prevent such crimes happening in the first place. We at TEARS believe in the fundamental dignity and worth of all human beings and to this end, we are committed to eliminating gender-based violence which hinders the effective realization of equality and human rights.

TEARS operates from the knowledge that survivors have the capacity to grow and change and that they are the experts in what they need. Survivor- identified indicators of recovery and healing inform the way in which services are delivered and developed. A trauma-based model means services are offered with the understanding that a survivor’s reactions are a normal response to trauma. TEARS believe that responding to sexual violence in our society and holding perpetrators to account starts with supporting survivors in ways that are respectful of their dignity, healing, and choices. TEARS work to hold perpetrators accountable for their behavior and counteract victim-blaming

Now, they need your help!

Many survivors of gender-based violence and abuse make it their goal to help change the future of not only their own children but the youth of our future. The motivation behind most help centres and charity foundations that are operating in this challenging field is normally either the founder or a close friend or family member had experienced abuse. This is exactly the case with TEARS.

Mara says: “I was seeking help at a police station and this led me to develop ‘Help at Your Fingertips’. I needed help urgently, and the policewoman suggested I come back on Monday as they did not know where to refer me. It was a Friday afternoon. I needed help!”

It is our moral, legal and ethical duty of care to protect all children, regardless of race or economic status.

Unfortunately, TEARS is extremely underfunded. Despite winning The International Gold Stevie Award in November 2016 in New York, it has made no difference to funding and they can no longer service their constituents without help. They have had to let staff go in an attempt to survive. Recently, due to lack of funding, their helpline service was suspended.  It is now up and running again, however, we need funding to keep the line open.

Businesses, Please ‘step up’!

In 2012, more than R3 billion was spent on Corporate Social Investment (CSI), yes, a mere R15-million was directed toward victims of abuse and violence. Rape affects not only the emotional and physical well-being of survivors, but also their ability to work and, if they are parents, to provide the love and attention their children require. A rape victim’s family members and friends may be absent – if not actually involved in the abuse themselves – while officials can be untrained or indifferent to the victims’ needs. 

Mara says: “We are there for the victims. We need your help. Victims need to know they are not alone”

TEARS, like many other non-government organizations that help rape and abuse survivors in South Africa, desperately need funding. The harsh reality is that the fight against rape and sexual abuse is overwhelmingly underfunded, meaning that many victims cannot get the help that they so urgently need.

TEARS urge companies to fund initiatives to change the situation of women and girls in South Africa. The costs are tax deductible. TERAS is registered as a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) in terms of the Income Tax Act (Act 58 of 1962), Funding to TEARS is tax deductible in the hands of the donor, individual or company – up to 5% of taxable income (SARS Ref: 18/11/13/379). BEE points and tax deductions can be claimed as an incentive.

If you can do anything to assist TEARS in their fight against sexual assault and gender-based violence, please contact mara@tears.co.za or 010 590 5920.

Laura-Lee Gillion needs your help with “Parliament needs to declare Gender-Based Violence in South Africa a State of Emergency”. Join Laura-Lee and 176,755 supporters have signed.

Sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/south-african-parliament-parliament-needs-to-declare-gender-based-violence-in-south-africa-a-state-of-emergency?source_location=petitions_browse