Help is available to women who are survivors of women abuse
By Jabu Sangweni, Director of the Centre for Community Justice and Development (CCJD)
If a woman is suffering from abuse, CCJD gives the following advice:
Seek help immediately
A survivor should not keep quiet about the abuse and should speak out and seek help immediately.
Because of the complexity of violence and abuse within the families, we always advise the abused women to take the abuse very seriously and not to wait, as it will probably escalate.
Save your emergency contacts
The survivor needs to keep the contact details of the police, relatives, friends, shelters and other service providers in case of emergency.
If women are unable to contact someone then they need to have a planned escape route from their house to the nearest place of safety such as the police station or neighbour.
Where there is physical violence, the safety of children is paramount. If women do not know where to find a shelter they need to find a neighbour and ask them to call the police.
The police will have the contact details of the social workers and shelters available in their areas.
Keep a record of your abuse so that it may be used in a criminal court case
Survivors should keep a diary of all incidences of abuse. This will serve as evidence if the matter goes to court.
Statements are helpful where the matter is taken to court and must contain all the elements of abuse in detail.
In cases of economic abuse, a file of all relevant documents will assist the survivor to apply for maintenance.
Such a file should be kept safely away from the abusive partner.
How CCJD helps our clients
In addressing the problem, we explain and advise the survivor about all the remedies which are available for her as stated in the Domestic Violence Act. We give basic counselling and inform her about the mediation by the advice office, applying for a protection order, laying a charge, going to a shelter, and give her an opportunity to choose what she prefers.
We listen to the survivor and her concerns and options, and we work closely with her in coming to the right decision, taking into consideration the history of abuse and seriousness of the matter at hand.
To encourage women to come forward and report, we give workshops and presentations. We hand out flyers in isiZulu with the information that assists clients to know about the rights and what to do when these are violated.
We have support groups where women who are survivors of abuse come together and share their experiences and learn from one another.
We sit in forums with institutional partners to discuss challenges faced by women in communities and come up with solutions to these problems.
The Centre for Community Justice and Development (CCJD) is just one off the many organisations working with 1st for Women through its For Women platform to end woman abuse. To find out more about the platform and the other organisations which are involved please visitwww.for-women.co.za.
To win the war on women abuse, we need an army – of actions, of sheer power and will. Unite in the fight against women abuse. Watch our video and visitwww.for-women.co.za to find out how your actions can make a difference. #ForWomen