Rape, according to the Collins dictionary, is as follows: If someone is raped, they are forced to have sex, usually by violence or by threats of violence. Ravish means the same thing… In our society it is a shameful thing. Women get demeaned by men so that they can get their way. In earlier years wives and daughters had to ask permission to open bank accounts or if women wanted to work. The times have changed, but still, if a woman, man or child gets assaulted or raped, for some reason, it is their own fault. Today we are very lucky to have centres like Thuthuzela available for women. Thuthuzela is the Xhosa word for comfort and these centres embody the word in all aspects. “Thuthuzela Care Centres are one-stop facilities that have been introduced as a critical part of South Africa’s anti-rape strategy for prevention, response and support for rape victims.” These Thuthuzela Care Centres are allocated at public hospitals near communities where the rape statistics are particularly high. They are also linked to police stations and other relevant offices. When someone reports a rape, whether it is a man, woman or child, they will be transported (for free) by the police to a Thuthuzela Care Centre. There they are welcomed and trained personnel take over to comfort the victims. A doctor is on call to assist in these situations and also to ensure the privacy and comfort of the patient. The patient is given a consent form to give permission to the doctor to take blood samples and perform other necessary examinations. The patients have the opportunity to bath and shower after all examinations have been performed and all the relative authorities have been notified. After being examined the patients do not always have clean clothing to wear. That is where Estelle Swart stepped in and made a plan. Estelle and a group of women are collecting handbags, underwear, body wash etcetera to donate to the Thuthuzela Care Centre in Evander. If you would like to be part of this initiative, please contact the Bulletin for more information.
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