Safety and em­pow­er­ment for abuse vic­tims

Vuk'uzenzele - - Yoguetnhefroaclus - Dale Hes

A GROUP of Western Cape shel­ters pro­tects, sup­ports and em­pow­ers women and their chil­dren so that they can shake off the shack­les of abuse.

Hen­ri­etta du Preez is an abuse sur­vivor who's life has changed thanks to the car­ing en­vi­ron­ment of­fered by the Western Cape Women’s Shel­ter Move­ment (WCWSM).

Sex­u­ally abused by her fa­ther when she was a girl, she also found out in 2015 that her own daugh­ters were be­ing mo­lested by their step­fa­ther.

“I re­alised that I needed help be­cause I wanted to kill this man but I didn’t want my chil­dren to go through a life with­out their mother,” said Du Preez.

A friend told her about Sis­ters In­cor­po­rated in Ke­nil­worth, one of 13 shel­ters be­ing run by the WCWSM.

“Walk­ing through the gates was the great­est de­ci­sion I could ever make. The so­cial work­ers gave me the ther­apy needed to heal my wounds and to be­come a bet­ter mother to my chil­dren. Af­ter leav­ing the shel­ter my chil­dren are sta­ble and safe,” said Du Preez.

The WCWSM was founded in 2009. It pro­vides a safe haven to more than 300 women and chil­dren across Cape Town.

“We strive to shel­ter vic­tims af­fected by crime and vi­o­lence, in par­tic­u­lar gen­der-based vi­o­lence and hu­man traf­fick­ing; and to em­power all who pass through our doors to be­come bet­ter-equipped for their role in so­ci­ety,” ex­plained Sis­ters In­cor­po­rated shel­ter man­ager De­lene Roberts.

Apart from ba­sic liv­ing re­quire­ments, the shel­ters pro­vide skills train­ing such as com­puter lit­er­acy, CV writ­ing, arts and crafts, and other ser­vices such as par­ent­ing classes and hu­man rights’ work­shops.

“The full-time so­cial worker as­sists res­i­dents with daily coun­selling, med­i­cal and le­gal needs, pro­tec­tion or­ders and school­ing,” Roberts added.

The shel­ters re­ceive ap­prox­i­mately half of their fund­ing from the De­part­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment, with ad­di­tional sup­port pro­vided by the City of Cape Town.

Staff from Sis­ters In­cor­po­rated who are part of the Wom­ens Shel­ter Move­ment par­tic­i­pate in a march against women abuse.

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