This project started in 2013 as a result of the large number of reports of rape and abuse being made at the Isibani centre. We realized how important it is for the community to be aware of what abuse is and what the options are for victims of abuse. Many instances of abuse and rape are not reported to the police or are not followed up by the department or institution responsible. This is a familiar story throughout South Africa.
We started this project by visiting local Primary and High Schools in our area to teach the children and the teachers what Sexual Abuse is and what needs to happen if it happens to them or if they know about someone else who has become a victim. In the primary schools we talked to learners in grades R through to grade 7 and in High school we focused on grades 8 and 9.
During 2013 we visited 9 schools. So far this year we have done follow ups with those 9 schools as well as expanding the programme with new school visits.
Based on the 9 schools visited in 2013:
- We spoke with 1705 learners.
- 6 children disclosed they were victims of abuse during our visit
So far in 2014:
- We spoke with 2560 learners at high school in grades 8 to 12.
- 2 children disclosed they were victims of abuse during our visit
When children tell us they have been or are currently victims of abuse we arrange follow up sessions with them for counseling.
The feedback from the school teachers and principals has been very positive and they have been very grateful for our sessions. The teachers say the children are afraid to report the perpetrators, often we hear of how the perpetrator has threatened to kill them if they report the abuse. After our sessions the children have more knowledge to understand how important it is for them to report the abuse.
During our sessions the children are given the opportunity to ask questions, this may seem a very simple idea but for these children it may be the first chance they have had to receive impartial and factual information and advice.
Impressions of the awareness sessions in the surrounding schools: