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TAKING A STAND:
The importance of honesty, of speaking out or taking a stand by sharing experiences and insights on the path to healing cannot be underestimated and the internet seemed like the perfect place to share with other survivors, wounded healers and those reaching out from their depths of despair to find a helping hand.
Statistics for domestic violence, child abuse and sexual violence are hotly disputed in South Africa. Only a small proportion of sexual and domestic crimes are reported and even fewer cases are followed up by the hard-pressed police force (see current SAPS statistics). There is however little dispute that sexual and domestic violence are rampant.
South Africa is said to have the highest statistics of gender-based violence in the world and this includes rape and domestic violence (Foster 1999; The Integrated Regional Network [IRIN], Johannesburg, South Africa, 25 May 2002).
The Department of Justice estimates that 1 out of every four South African women are survivors of domestic violence. (450.311 Domestic Violence: Submission to the South African Law Commission in the Light of International and Constitutional Human Rights Jurisprudence Part 1, May 1997)
To raise awareness around issues of domestic violence and child abuse. To encourage and empower children, men and women to speak out. To provide assistance for abused children, men and women to begin and continue their healing journey and living exceptional lives. To create and foster a network of cooperation between the various agencies working in this field (especially in the Northern Cape, starting with Kimberley).
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD ABUSE:
In January 2010, Eversheds published a paper called Domestic Violence - South Africa, Deborah Di Siena and Natalie Laurencik, in which they noted: ‘As stated in the Act, it recognises that domestic violence is a serious social evil, with a regrettably high incidence in SA, and that victims of domestic violence are among the most vulnerable members of our society.’
From the personal experience of some of our members we can agree with this statement, but more than that wish to emphasise that domestic violence and for that matter abusive behaviour (whether directed at children or adults) spans all cultures, classes, races and creeds in our country. Surely there is a huge social and moral problem. We see more and more violent and abusive behaviours linked to alcohol and drug addiction in our schools and homes. How can we combat such an all pervasive problem? One Person at a Time!
We can change the world one person at a time! One of the biggest challenges to overcome is the shame and guilt associated with both domestic violence and any other form of abuse - to encourage people to break free of their bondage! To do this we have developed the following strategies.
We, at Optimystic, have a strategy that employs four main objectives to address these issues:
1. To empower people to obtain assistance through awareness campaigns
By speaking about their experiences and sharing their journeys - both online and at churches, schools and in our everyday lives - even though we remain wounded healers, survivors can encourage others to go through the process needed to free themselves from their abusers. As a start, Celeste will be sharing her experiences of child abuse and domestic violence and her journey in the hope of encouraging others to take their first step towards healing.
Through reaching out to churches, schools and other community organisations we hope to raise awareness in the general community about the long term effects and permanent scarring that domestic violence and child abuse have on the individual - and therefore through the ‘ripple effect’ on these individual’s immediate and extended family, friends and society in general.
2. Red Tape and Secondary Traumatisation
Of course the system has been improved over the last decade, however from the personal experience of some of our members it is clear that there are huge obstacles to obtaining the required legal, medical and social assistance. This problem needs to be addressed and streamlined. To accomplish this we will be talking to the different organisations involved and institute a networking plan to facilitating ease of access to these organisations and their expertise.
3. Education and a Changing Social Values
Our third focus will be on education and promoting solid social morals and values using our Christian value system - one individual at a time. We envisage doing this by setting up educational programmes focussing on teaching relationship skills. In doing this we will actively challenge such social decline as television programming, internet access and social networking that promotes the ‘right here right now’ value system that pervades our society.
4. Support Group
Our support group, both online and in our community, is based on the ACSA programme of the Morris Centre, ACSA Support. This programme forms part of Celeste’s healing journey.
The group will also be giving guidelines to journaling, healing prayer and art therapy as useful techniques on a survivors healing journey.
We know the scars are permanent, and the journey long, but we believe that it is all part of living extraordinary, happy and fulfilled lives.
Operates in: Kimberley, Northern Cape
Established in: January 2011
Non-Profit Organisation Number: 088-292
Public Benefit Organisation Number:
Section 21 Company Number:
Contact person: Celeste
Phone: 079 534 1641
Fax: 086 568 2554
Physical address: 7 Golden Gate Crescent, Carters Glen, Kimberley
Postal address: 7 Golden Gate Crescent, Carters Glen, Kimberley
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