In partnership with Rape Crisis, Manenberg community activist, Yumna Alexander is offering free gender-based violence awareness workshops at the Grassroots Educare Trust building in Athlone. The mother of two said her life’s mission was to ensure others were spared the traumas and challenges she has had to face.
“I don’t want to be biased and just want women to be empowered, but right now that is my main focus. I feel we have been deprived for most of our ancient years – our mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers – and I feel that if women know more, they’ll tolerate less,” said Alexander.
She approached facilitators at Rape Crisis last year and expressed the need for more community-based workshops aimed at empowering residents, focusing on younger girls from about the age of 11. Although Alexander had faced challenges in accessing facilities to host these workshops, she did not lose hope.
The first session of the GBV awareness workshop took place last week and would be conducted on a weekly basis at no cost. “Everyone in the workshop has spoken about so many things, things that I felt they needed to offload. They had a lot of ‘wow’ and ‘if only I knew’ moments,” said Alexander.
The women are coached on how to be aware of how to identify signs of danger, how to identify various forms of GBV and how to safely respond GBV. Rape Crisis training and development facilitator,Tohira Jardien said the workshops aimed to empower the community by informing them of the services Rape Crisis had to offer.
“Our workshops look at pathways through the criminal justice system as well as sexual reproductive health rights, what they are and how to access them. We also impart the proper definitions of rape, sexual assault as well as harassment so that our participants leave with the proper understanding of the terms,” said Alexander.
Furthermore, the participants were informed of the various channels through which psychosocial support such as counselling, trauma centres, special courts, pre-trial counselling could be attained and how to overcome barriers to accessing these services. Interested candidates can email Alexander on email@example.com.