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Downes Murray International News

Striving for a safer South Africa

Established in 1976, the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust is the oldest organisation in South Africa supporting the recovery of rape survivors, seeking justice and bringing about change in communities.

Rape Crisis has a vision of a South Africa in which women are safe in their communities, and where the criminal justice system supports and empowers rape survivors.

Their goal is to promote an end to violence against women – specifically rape. Rape survivors are key to successful convictions and their empowerment is based on safety, respect, support and the ability to make informed choices as they embark on this difficult and challenging journey.

Rape Crisis aims to reduce the trauma experienced by survivors and encourages them to report rape. The orgainisation supports communities in challenging high rape rates and flaws in the criminal justice system.

These goals are achieved through coordinated action between their three main programmes:

The Road to Justice: Striving for better support services for victims of rape, both prior to entering, and within, the criminal justice system. By minimising secondary victimisation and improving conviction rates, more women and men are encouraged to report rape.

The Road to Recovery: Rape survivors are encouraged to speak out about their experience, so that psychological healing may begin. Both telephone and face-to-face counselling are offered free of charge to survivors and their families, as well as support groups.

Making Change: Communities are encouraged to devise innovative prevention strategies, and to build safe spaces within areas (including the workplace). Rape Crisis also strives to change attitudes towards rape and to create a culture of respect for women and girls in South Africa.

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