Tag Archives: rape

Thank you from the courts

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Intermediary Salome Phaho and myself when I handed R 4000 worth of comfort over to the court. Yeah, sorry we had no professional camera with us, just cell phones. But that’s exactly it – helping is gritty and not about looking pretty right?

Thank you from the courts

Today I received this letter from the intermediary for child witnesses and victims of sexual crimes at the Magistrate Court in Sibasa about how our Comfort boxes now are helping even children in the Musina court:

Good Afternoon Mam,blessed be God and the Father of our Lord Jesus who causeth us to triumph through Christ!

I am simply excited for the foundation that has been laid because for this vision to manifest like this means Victory!

My colleagues Nthabiseng Dzhivhani has just given out a 12-15yrs box yesterday @ Musina and I heard the girl couldn’t put it down.

This project is really working as I realized that most kids come dejected and rejected with little or no support from parents or relatives as if they chose to be victims.

But when they find LOVE in that little box is like their WORLD has suddenly changed as they understand that irrespective of what happened and how they feel and what others take them for, there’s still HOPE in life because someone out there loves them and care about them so much.

DSC02559Thank you once again Woman of God for your heart for souls.

Pass my regards to Pastor

Salome Phaho

So wonderful to hear about those boxes really making a difference in children’s lives.

Of course I cannot post details about the children involved, but share some photos of the people who work with the children and pictures of the court:

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The ladies working with the children who come to testify in court.
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the entrance to the court room
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the tiny space available for children to wait for their court hearing. Our boxes make it so much more comforting for them.
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At the Magistrate Court in Sibasa

A typical comfort box contains a snack, juice, new stuffed toy (that was cuddled and blessed to carry some comfort before putting into the box), a book, sticker or colouring activity, toys for boys or girls.
A typical comfort box contains a snack, juice, new stuffed toy (that was cuddled and blessed to carry some comfort before putting into the box), a book, sticker or colouring activity, toys for boys or girls. A typical carebox contains a friendly stuffed animal for girls, hotwheels (matchbox cars) for boys, a book, sticker activities, a snack, some sweets and a fruit juice. Many children come hungry to court and have to wait for hours until their hearing.
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Discussing with Magistrate Kellermann the need for a more comforting environment for underaged victims of sexual violence. A lot of cases can not go to trial because the children are not able to testify due to nervousness and stress.
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Handing out my first set of 40 comfort boxes containing R4000 worth of items such as fruit juices, snacks, a lovely stuffed toy, sticker activity books, toy cars, crayons etc.
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To get to the rural Magistrate courts one drives about an hour from Louis Trichardt in the North of Limpopo province. A truly underdeveloped infrastructure in the rural courts makes serving justice a challenge.

As many of my followers know, here in South Africa we deal with child abuse and child rape in a severity that is unbelievable.

Today I went to the Magistrate Court in Sibasa delivering 40 care boxes.

The boxes contain high quality toys, stickers, activity books, snacks and a high quality fruit juice. Many children have not had breakfast when they come to testify in court and often they wait for a long period of time.

I had been talking to a friend about the plight of the children in Limpopo, with child abuse rates soaring so high. She is a Magistrate judge and I had asked if there is anything we as a community could do to make testifying easier for victims of child abuse.  After Magistrate Kellerman got the permission by her head of department, I started making of these boxes to help the children bridge the uncomfortable time at court. The boxes will be used in rural courts such as Sibasa, Waterval and Musina.

This has also come up as a topic with the Guardian Angels, our local High Schools care group, who helped me with the collection of boxes while we informed them about their own responsibility to step in and step up when they see abuse happen.

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Teaching our local high School students the importance of getting involved when they see abuse happen instead of lookign the other way is another leg of our efforts to fight the rape epidemic in our province.

How an individual responds to unpleasant events in their life is crucial for their future.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

To assist a child and young woman or young man in overcoming the trauma of abuse is a call we all need to take up in this nation.

To end this, there are many different steps needed. We as a church are going into schools, training learners how to prevent abuse, how to interfere when you know a peer faces abuse, how to report abuse. We train parents. We try to get the community involved.

It is very important that abuse cases to go to court and the perpetrators get sentenced.

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Packing out in total 40 care boxes (more will come the next months as the project takes of) in front of the court staff.
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Magistrate Court in Sibasa- the family courtroom in a mobile trailer! The infrastructure around the court is basic, to say the least. The judges and lawyers work tirelessly under challenging conditions, even in protable offices. The main road leading to this court is a dirt road.

 

As I wrote in my post about courts, https://germanytoafrica.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/going-to-court/ this is a crucial part of the right against rape in South Africa.

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The court staff responsible for keeping the children safe during the trial. They have a very tiny office and it is not easy to keep children comfortable there. I hope the snacks, toys and books will be of some help.
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The children are testifying through a CCTV system so they do not have to face the criminals.
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The office where the children are waiting for the hearing or coming to for delivering their testimony via CCTV.

 

The stress is very high. A case can only be processed when the judge finds the child capable of making a statement. For that, the child must show an understanding of truth, understanding of consequences of lying. Since most children only understand tribal languages, the have to be able to communicate via a translator and intermediary.

The judge says that unfortunately often children stress so much, they tense up and refuse all communication. The case can not go to trial then.

The comfort boxes will be handed to the child by the intermediary. This will give them a positive start in their communication. The child will be more positive about the experience and also have juice and a snack. They often come to court without having had breakfast and without a lunch box. These comfort boxes cover all that.

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Magistrates Pieter and Hanlie Kellermann who brought my attention to the situation of the child witnesses in court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Talking to the court staff about the importance to support the under aged victims when they testify at court. Intense words for an intense situation.
Talking to the court staff about the importance to support the under aged victims when they testify at court. Intense words for an intense situation.
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Intermediary Salome Phaho (left of me) shared with me her challenges in keeping the children busy. Some NGOs are coming and going with own project ideas, not always practical. they are looking for long-term commitment in a cooperative way. I prefer to first go in and assess the real needs at the base.

 

 

 Statistics from the South African Police regarding child abuse

 

 

 We later received a BIG thank you from the court staff.

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Wendy house for young victims at the back of the Sibasa court.
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We also visited a Wendy house in the back of the court property where we were greeted by a volunteer who had put up his office inside of it. The purpose of the Wendy house is for children to spend their waiting time in.  It seemed a bit unpractical as according to the court staff the young girls get separated from their mothers and during the warmer month it becomes a “hothouse” and can not be used. The toys inside are broken and dirty. The tiny room is filled with the NGO’s computer, coffee table and feels not very inviting.

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Care Packets for Children testifying in court

In a previous post I have talked about the high rate of child abuse and rape resulting in death in South Africa. Only an estimated 10 percent of all cases do go to court and the children as young as 3 have to testify under horrible conditions against the perpetrators. To encourage the children and bless them while waiting, often for hours, in the drab corridors of rural courts, I put together these care boxes containing a fruit juice, a snack, a new soft toy, a mini book and some stickers to keep themselves busy for a moment and be comforted from this unpleasant setting.

A box costs me about 7 US dollars to make seeing that these items are all new and the fruit juice and snack are high quality.

If you want to help me make more boxes, please donate to my paypal account. You can find it on the left hand side of my blog. Thanks.

If you are from around Limpopo you are welcome to provide us with new soft toys, fruit juices and snacks!

Thanks,

Christiane

 

Heavenly minded

I do not know about you, but sometimes I feel like the prophet Asaph:

Psa 82:1-8 A Psalm of Asaph.

God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”

Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

Here in South Africa, I often drive by shockingly pompous places like this one which is a game auctioning facility where buck are sold at astronomical prices:

Antique furniture imported from Belgian castles decorates game breeders offices and the antelope lodge in amazing architecture. No problem at all, everyone do as they enjoy.

On the other hand I am faced daily with the lack of appropriate educational facilities and the most basic of provision for people. In South Africa, 10 % of all 0-4 year olds are malnourished, according to UNICEF 84 percent of South African children do not have any access to educational stimulation before they start grade 1.

Our magistrate courts have no facilities for the hundreds of victims of child rape they process every year, those poor children have to sit next to the perps in court.

Yesterday a boy drowned in a school toilet in a rural area that was basically just a long drop.

We labor hard and sometimes it hurts, to be nothing in the eyes of the great and mighty who so easily could make a tremendous difference.

Being measured by the size of your car and the interior deco of your home can wear down the most spirited fighter over time. So that’s why I share this bible verse with you, because I strongly believe that this world is not everything.

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The kindness you share here, the compassion and love, will carry over to the next world, where God will make up for all the unrighteous mocking. I believe Mother Theresa will be a royal princess there!

Currently I am in the process of collecting, buying and making educational material to be taken to the Tsilidzini Special School next week. We need Montessori materials to count, weigh, feel, etc which can be sent directly to the Emmanuel Church where I am working.

I am also trying to purchase 360 waterproof mattresses for the boarding school kids at the Special school as bed wetting seems a major problem.

As to the rape victims: the state of social services regarding under aged rape victims is saddening and really typical for Limpopo, where the triage of services is not working as effectively as in other provinces.

I am handing out the very informative Rape Response protocol posters by the Viva organization at own costs to be put up at public places as to inform women of what they can and should do in the unfortunate event of rape.

If you are interested in the report, pls send me your email address. I am also in the process of putting together these parcels for the young victims: Out of years of experience in a South African setting my friend at Viva suggests a soft toy, a chocolate bar, kiddies juice, a hoodie or cap to feel safe in and maybe something to colour in or sticker activity to have an outlet for nervousness.

NGOs are the ones doing all the little steps to help where the need is greatest. Do not give up your good work, everybody!

Find more information in the discussion below.

Step up and Step in: how can we fight rape in SA?

Hi Bloggers and Friends,I must say I have really had it with all the excuses going on in the country as if abuse of children, women and even men is just a thing of culture. It is not and I am just not going to put up with it anymore.
Today I sat with our churches Youth guys and we are now choreographing a hip hop musical drama including a short talk by a hunky good looking African guy (head boy nogal) about why rape is just wrong. Keep reading this post to get a glimpse at our first attempts on putting the Hip Hop message together!
I have also arranged for trauma counsellor Barbara Louw to come and teach all our cell leaders and volunteers about how to respond to  trauma and how to start the healing process.
IMG_1475 - CopyFurthermore I am pursuing a high impact Self Defense course to run for the whole community, partially sponsored by the church.
I know the big cities have more resources and access to talented volunteers but probably also a higher bureaucracy and protocol threshold.
I do not want to wait till a super polished show comes to our rural areas, so I am going to put together something right now.
And how urgent is the call for equipped trauma counselors in a nation where every third girl under 18 has been subjected to rape or abuse.
Smart talks, brochures or even handing out condoms at schools do nothing to stop the out of control spiral of sexual violence amongst the youth of our country.
I had the great privileged talking and brainstorming with Jaco and Philippa Booyens from www.afteredenpictures.com  who are
currently busy producing the 8 Days movie raising awareness about sex trafficking.
Africa’s medium is music and dancing, and we need to use those tools to expose the “rape apes” for what they are, and to bring civilian courage back so the “good kids” do not look the other way but get involved helping and taking a stand against abuse.
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Talking to youth to please NOT look the other way when they suspect abuse is happening.

Really, it is partially the good neighbours who allow this by looking away.

 

Between 77% and 83% of rapes are committed by someone that is a trusted friend or family member.

South Africa was currently rated by Interpol as the world’s no. 1 rape capital, a woman raped every 17 seconds. That is bad enough but according to the Medical Research Council, more than one in four minors experience physical violence at home daily or weekly and more than one third of girls have experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. Its study also states that 40% of all victims who reported rape to the police were under 18 and 15% were under 12 years old.

Another issue with sexual violence against minors in South Africa is the sexual abuse and harassment that is reported to occur in schools by teachers and other students.

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Rural Limpopo children are currently the most vulnerable population group in our nation.

According to the Human Rights Watch, girls from all levels of society and ethnic groups have been subjected to sexual violence at school in bathrooms, empty classrooms, dormitories, and more.

Police, prosecutors, and social workers have also complained that many incidents of sexual violence in schools are not reported to them because schools often prefer to deal with it internally, thus hindering justice against the perpetrators. The danger of sexual violence in schools has created a barrier for girls to seek education. HRW also reported that South African girls’ school performance suffers after an incident of sexual violence.

I passionately suggest that churches, instead of dancing around with Shofar around a golden ark etc(sorry, something that as a foreigner found quite strange in some SA conventions), unite their volunteer talents and work to produce some kind of Anti Rape, pro humanity, pro values show that could go on tour in SA, or at least in just in their respective communities.

Indifference is a crime just as murder itself. If the church does not step in, I wonder what today’s youth will be like tomorrow.

If we stay quiet, this becomes a habit of our nation, habit forms character – silence just affirms evil. Evil becomes routine. That is NOT my and NOT your South Africa.

Do not look away. Get involved. BE the fathers that protect, the role models, the champions of those girls around you, and STEP IN.
A nation that proclaims to have 85% Christians in its population should cry out in Shame at those statistics.
Andries and I are definitely busy addressing this issue with African pastors as well.
I am totally convinced that we all underestimate the potential of our churches in tackling the rape problem in South Africa.
Yes, 85% of South Africans call themselves Christians and one third of girls under 18 are raped.
That means rapists attend churches and listen to a lot of bla bla, it means church goers know and befriend rapists and say NOTHING and do not step in.
So we need to work together with all churches especially in rural areas to address the problem, outlaw it, mark it as beastly, threaten with eternal hell and legal actions, and make it every christians first and foremost duty to protect the girls, boys, women and even men around them from becoming crime victims.
The call must be step up and step in!!!!

Down with the Rape Apes

Sorry for the phony title, but the whole topic stinks so much that I really do not have the nerve thinking of a better headline right now.

South African 17-year-old dies of gang-rape injuries
Wed, Feb 06 12:03 PM EST

By Ed Cropley

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A 17-year-old South African girl died of injuries inflicted in a gang-rape at the weekend, provoking rare outrage on Wednesday in a country inured to some of the world’s highest levels of sexual violence.

The victim had been sliced open from her stomach to her genitals and dumped on a building site in the town of Bredasdorp, 130 km (80 miles) east of Cape Town, the Cape Argus newspaper reported.

The victim identified one of her attackers before she died, it said. Hospital staff who battled to save her life were given counseling because of the horrific nature of her injuries.

The case has echoes of the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus that has triggered huge protests in India against endemic anti-female violence.

The Bredasdorp murder is unlikely to provoke such a large-scale outpouring of anger in South Africa, where women’s groups say rape has lost the power to shock.

“It is difficult to find reason behind the many different acts of gang rape, child rape, rape of the elderly, corrective rape and male rape,” the Women’s League of the ruling African National Congress said in a statement.

“Men and women need to join hands around this issue and fight this epidemic together. The Women’s League and a few women’s NGOs can no longer be the lone voices crying out against rape.”

South Africa’s statistics agency concluded in 2000 that it had the highest reported rape rate of all 120 Interpol member countries. Even when suspects are caught, only 12 percent of cases end in conviction.

Sexual crimes rarely spark media outrage.

One rare exception was when seven men aged between 14 and 20 went on trial last year for raping a mentally handicapped 17-year-old girl and recording it on a cell-phone video that later went viral. The case is continuing.

Even then, the incident spurred little beyond some soul-searching editorials and anguished radio phone-ins.

(Additional reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa; editing by Andrew Roche)

Read another article HERE

During our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. SA our reaction to rape and murder decides our future destiny.

As you can see I am adding pictures of INDIAN protesters. It seems, and media reporters voice this, that South Africa stays indifferent to these horrible crimes committed to their women and children. Just last week the Sowetan featured a story of a 13 year old girl suffering from Epilepsy being sold as a child bride to a Limpopo Sangoma.

In South Africa we have learned to to lift our voice never too loudly lest it might be interpreted as “intolerance” because incidents as the sold underaged bride are often excused with “but it is our culture”. In my eyes it is not a far shot from staying silent at the trafficking of an underaged girl to a “traditional healer” to creating a system where young men grow up believing women are there for the picking, resulting in gang rapes, resulting in agonizing death.

Helloo, wake up, somebody.

This one is painfully close to our doorstep. I am honest, I cried my eyes out when the news broke about the India rape. I cannot help but picture brutality of this incident, and am deeply shaken by it. The protests of these thousands and thousands of brave men and women was comforting.

But I am crying even harder at this one. Indifference is worse than hate, its a crime in itself. Uniting South Africa seems to be much harder than uniting India. All too long have we, under the mantle of shame because of our appalling history of Apartheid, felt we need to tread lightly around “cultural” issues. The different “treatment” of women in different ethnic groups within SA has even been legalized by the government allowing a Muslim or a tribal chief the “right” to all “take” several wives, while a white Christian would find himself in serious trouble should he be polygamistically inclined.

Now wait a moment. Do we strive to become a beacon of light to the rest of Africa and the world? What about that sweet BBC documentary “South Africa’s Path to Freedom” presenting us as such a fine example of reconciliation instead of hate?

I must say the statistics of Interpol rating South Africa’s the world’s RAPE CAPITAL, a women being raped EVERY 17 SECONDS rings in stark contrast to that in my ears.

Have we attempted freedom at all cost, letting weeds grow unchecked until they become a forest so twisted and thick that it is unmanageably deadly?

“Culture”can not be blamed for the way fathers raise their sons to treat women. We are not disconnected from the rest of the world, we have to adapt an international mindset.

And no, human trafficking is NOT okay, paying money for sex or marriage with woman of any age but ESPECIALLY under-aged girls must be severely penalized and RAPE needs to be publicly condemned in the sharpest ways and punished, no bail, no excuses.

Furthermore we need to wake up and understand that all SA’s problems are linked. If our government keeps its people ignorant, by building mansions with tax money while 123 learners have to share one classroom, http://kasieconomics.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/ekasieconomics-the-123-kids/  we must expect more severe problems to come in the future.

To me it is a strong pointer that the rape took place in the Western Cape, where recently many farm workers protested against daily minimum wages of 69 Rand and saw an increase to 129 Rand/day, leading to subsequent loss hundreds of jobs.

Are the farmers to blame, many of whom providing not only the wages but also meals and housing to their workers? Many farmers struggle themselves as it is.

Do we really see ourselves as a low wage country? This equation has long crumbled. A recent discussion at the University of Stellenbosch with German ambassador Andreas Kuehne revealed that South Africa’s products are long not competitive enough for international exports any more. South Africa’s production costs have risen with 134% per unit while European production costs have sunk thanks to higher productivity.

The key lies in #education. We underutilized our potential by keeping a vast part of our citizens in utter ignorance. One skilled, educated laborer can produce more than  15 unskilled ones because of greater foresight, ability to operate machines, less waste and breakage etc etc.

I am tired of hearing there is not enough work for a specialized work force. Listen, there is not enough work for ignorant people who do not care about their employer (burning down the farms that sustain them at awhim, burning libraries, hospitals and trucks), there will not be enough money for piece jobs and day labour anymore. This country produces, but the refinement of our products often happens overseas. A trained work force can keep the refinment of our product in land. Why not become an electronic superpower? Produce world quality foods and export luxury goods en masse instead of importing them?

think with me. Quality education for free for all in first world schools, perfectly trained and equipped teachers …  Educated labour – higher wages, higher buying power in local hands – higher market turn over, even higher income for our dear government, who could then give back into education.

No need to turn to crime. Pressure to perform. Fulfilled life, hope for future… and together we can make rapists extinct.

 

I am brainstorming roughly because I have a day job and two kids and just need to get this ball rolling somewhere! Are you with me?

As soon as my day allowes it I will talk today to other ministries, churches have volunteers and drama teams, we need to go 2 schools #stoprape  with agressive message that RAPE IS NOT EVEN FOR APES, it is wrong and rapists are criminal cowards who WILL be punished by both legal system and society.

Sex excesses, rape and pregnancy are big problems at all SA schools.

Its unacceptable and if we do not tackle it who will.

I am talking with friends to put together a musical drama show to tour schools with to educate that RAPE is wrong.

Comments and input welcome … this mommy needs to go make lunch now.