Lawyers Against Abuse

South Africa is experiencing epidemic levels of gender-based violence, GBV, and victims and survivors of GBV are being grossly violated by the system designed to protect them. Lawyers Against Abuse, LvA works to create systemic change to prevent abuse, protect victims and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. To achieve this, LvA is on a mission to empower victims with direct legal representation; to encourage victims to claim their rights; to catalyse improved system response through targeted impact education; and to support and respect the rights of victims in the process.
Aug 15, 2016

Beyond Workshops: Empowering Social Change Agents

YEP Leadership Team prepares for initial meeting.
YEP Leadership Team prepares for initial meeting.

LvA is proud to announce the launch of its Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) which will take place on 19 August 2016. The idea for YEP originated from Zandile (name changed to protect privacy), one of the graduates of LvA’s Sexual Violence Workshop Series. To learn more about the Workshop Series, read our previous report entitled, "Finding a Voice”.

One key component of the workshop series is to empower participants to become agents of change within community. As both sexual violence and intimate partner violence is extremely prevalent and normalized within Diepsloot, the facilitators challenge participants to take a stand not only against violence itself, but against the prevailing harmful norms and attitudes that allow the perpetuation of violence. After completing the workshop series, Zandile, along with other graduates, were eager to continue engaging with other workshop graduates and to share what she had learned with others in her community and approached LvA for support. After several conversations with LvA staff, the YEP started to take shape.

The Program will create a platform for former workshop series’ graduates to be social change agents within their community. It aims to help them further articulate the injustices suffered by women in general and to use what they have learnt in the workshops to educate and raise awareness amongst their own families and throughout the larger Diepsloot community. The group will meet at the LvA Centre bi-weekly and each session will contain some theory presented by LvA staff on foundational topics such as “What is Power?” and “Gender and Power”, as well as topics specifically relevant to participants and their peers such as “Blesser Relationships”. The topic will then be discussed among participants through exercises and open dialogue. LvA has partnered with two students from the Drama Therapy Masters Programme at the University of Witwatersrand who will assist LvA is designing appropriate exercises and facilitating the sessions. Lastly, these sessions will also incorporate the use of a journal, which participants can use to write down their thoughts, feelings and reflections both on topics discussed in group meetings as well as on their own lived experiences. Each session will include a “journal sharing/feedback” component for discussion and debrief.

LvA’s Sexual Violence Workshop Series is aimed not only at providing information on sexual violence in general, but also at facilitating insight into the structural enablers of gender-based violence broadly, and empowering young women to become agents of change. The project proposed by Zandile demonstrates the extent to which this can be achieved.

Links:

Jul 28, 2016

Final Project Report

To date, LvA has been able to provide free legal services and/or psycho-social support to over 270 victims of gender-based violence in Diepsloot, South Africa. In addition, we have partnered with four local schools, providing workshops to learners and teachers around managing sexual violence. This work would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors. On behalf of our team at LvA and the community of Diepsloot, we say 'Thank you!'. We are closing this project on Global Giving so that we can focus our effort on our other project "Legal Aid for Victims of Domestic Violence in SA (#11258)". Please feel free to direct any continued support towards that project.

Thank you again for your support.

Sincerely, 

The LvA Team 

Jun 9, 2016

Marching in Solidarity against Sexual Violence

On 22 April, LvA proudly joined a diverse group of civil society and community members for a march against sexual violence and substance abuse in Diepsloot. The march was the first of its kind in the community as it joined together local NGOs, government agencies, and police officials to raise awareness about gender-based violence (GBV). In all, over 70 stakeholders and 200 community members participated in the event. 

The march began in Ext. 1, one of the most informal and violent areas of Diepsloot, and culminated at a major taxi rank in Ext. 11, recently identified by the police as a “rape hotspot.” Here, LvA, along with our partner organisations, SADAG and Sonke Gender Justice, and the Diepsloot SAPS Station Commander shared information about available services for GBV victims, encouraging victims to report crimes and community members to speak out against sexual violence. 

Accompanied by police vehicles, LvA staff and other service providers were able to engage with community members without worrying about safety concerns. Still, despite the buffer of uniformed officers and police vehicles, marchers were still whistled at and catcalled, signifying the extreme levels of street harassment the women and girls of Diepsloot face every day. 

Reflecting on her experience, LvA staff attorney, Rethabile Mosese, shared the following:

It was heartening to march alongside other black women of this community, both young and old, lending my voice to their unrelenting strength and determination.Yet, as I climbed into my taxi at the end of the day and left the multitude of shacks haphazardly piled upon one another behind, I felt conflicted. On the one hand, I was encouraged by the SAPS commitment to fighting gender-based violence in Diepsloot and yet, wondered whether a rape survivor has ‘real’ access to these resources. Would a van be able to snake its way through these unmarked streets to find her? Would a van even be available to come at all? Would her neighbours come to her aid as she waits?”

These are just a few of the very real challenges victims of sexual violence face every day in Diepsloot. LvA works hard to ensure that she does not have to face these challenges alone. Won’t you join us?

 
   

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $10
    (USD)
    give
  • $25
    (USD)
    give
  • $50
    (USD)
    give
  • $75
    (USD)
    give
  • $100
    (USD)
    give
  • $200
    (USD)
    give
  • $500
    (USD)
    give
  • $10
    each month

    (USD)
    give
  • $25
    each month

    (USD)
    give
  • $50
    each month

    (USD)
    give
  • $75
    each month

    (USD)
    give
  • $100
    each month

    (USD)
    give
  • $200
    each month

    (USD)
    give
  • $500
    each month

    (USD)
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.