(By survivor, conqueror Phumelela Malaza)

A few minutes of sexual gratification for the perpetrator leads to a lifetime of torment for survivors or victims of sexual assault…

  • Ever wonder what life is like for a victim after they have been sexually violated?
  • Ever wondered how severe the impact might be or how they cope after the ordeal?

The reality is: Perpetrators give victims a life sentence, a burden to live with the trauma and memories throughout their lives.

We all cope differently

While rape or sexual assault has become a norm in society, survivors can often face extremely difficult, painful emotions and experiences.

Every survivor responds to this traumatic event in their own unique way. The effects of the trauma can be short-term or long term. The personal style, culture and context of the survivors’ life may affect these reactions.

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Some express their emotions while others prefer to keep their feelings inside. Some may tell others right away what happened, others will wait weeks, months, or even years before discussing their assault, if they ever choose to do so.

It is important to respect each person’s choice and style of coping with this traumatic event. It takes courage for a victim or survivor to reach a point where they ultimately report or discuss their assault.

Perpetrators ‘live amongst us’

Many of these perpetrators live amongst us. Many are actually our family members.

Isn’t it tragic how in many cases perpetrators are supported, defended, protected and hardly reported to law enforcement officials?

While survivors are expected to prove that they were assaulted beyond reasonable doubt; first to their family member’s or close friends, then to SAPS and finally to the court system.

Even after being victimised by perpetrators, they are then exposed to secondary victimisation from the minute they speak out and disclose that they were assaulted and then still deal with the healing process.

How often do we give survivors the level of support that they actually need?

While family members may even encourage them to keep the matter a secret or buried because it would “destroy the family”.

Corrupt law enforcement officials encourage victims to reconcile with perpetrators at police stations even before cases are opened because “they are family”. In some instances of corruption, SAPS officials may have gone as far as withdrawing cases at police stations.

Court systems are also not victim-centred. The focus is more on what you can prove rather than what happened, and the truth.

Capitalism is also at play within the court systems, because a lot of perpetrators walk free on the basis and size of their pockets. Thus it has become very easy to manipulate processes and the system at regional courts.

#BeyondThePain

Through the organisation, Voice It In Action, and its campaign, #BeyondThePain, we encourage victims to speak out and seek help.

You are not alone #BeyondThePain there is hope, and you can become a beacon of hope to other victims/survivors.

We are encouraging members of society to also participate.

Voice It In Action is your platform.

“As an organisation we strive to ensure that we support victims and survivors of GBV while educating the greater communities at large.”

If you are a victim/survivor who wants to be heard, you want to support or you want to be a part of the work that we do, you can contact Voice It In Action on various platforms such as: beyondthepain@viia.org.za – your subject line guides the conversation.

Social media: @VoiceItInAction | cell: 074 268 9571 / 071 426 0606 – Call/WhatsApp/Text | www.viia.org.za – #VoiceItInAction

 

 

SAPS Emergency Services 10111
Toll-free Crime Stop number 086 00 10111
GBV Command Centre Contact the 24-hour Gender Based Violence Command Centre toll-free number 0800 428 428 to report abuse
STOP Gender Violence Helpline Tel: 0800 150 150/ *120*7867#
South African Police Service Report all cases of rape, sexual assault or any form of violence to a local police station or call the toll-free Crime Stop number: 086 00 10111
Legal Aid South Africa Call the toll-free Legal Aid Advice Line 0800110 110 for free legal aid if you cannot afford one
Commission for Gender Equality Report Gender Discrimination and Abuse: 0800 007 709
South African Human Rights Commission Call 011 877 3600 to lodge a complaint about human rights violations.
Domestic violence Helpline Stop Women Abuse: 0800 150 150
AIDS Helpline 0800 012 322
The Warrior Project FREE legal helpline for victims of domestic abuse: 0860 333 353
People Opposed to Woman Abuse(Powa) http://www.powa.co.za, Tel: 011 642 4345
Child Welfare South Africa http://childwelfaresa.org.za/, Tel: 074 080 8315
Childline South Africa http://www.childlinesa.org.za/, Tel: 0800 055 555
Families South Africa (Famsa) http://www.famsaorg.mzansiitsolutions.co.za/, Tel: 011 975 7106/7
Tears Foundation http://www.tears.co.za/, Free SMS helpline: *134*7355#, Tel: 010 590 5920
The Trauma Centre http://www.trauma.org.za/, Tel: 021 465 7373
Thuthuzela Care Centres http://isssasa.org.za/