Nov 11, 2016

Importance of Integration

LvA’s integrated approach to gender-based violence, providing both legal and psycho-social services, is unique. This is particularly true in Diepsloot, where the LvA’s services are the only ones of their kind in the community. The importance and success of such an integrated approach can be seen in the two client stories shared below.

Thabiso’s Journey with LvA

Thabiso is a 24-year-old mother of two. She initially came to LvA with her mother, Noluthando, seeking a protection order against her abusive stepfather. The abuse had been going on for over 14 years and was directed at Noluthando, Thabiso, and their other children. When they came to LvA, both agreed to counselling to deal with the severe traumatic after-effects of the violence. Thabiso entered individual therapy and they both became regular participants in LvA’s group therapy. Through her sessions, Thabiso identified GBV as a critical issue in Diepsloot and wanted to know more about its drivers, and do more to prevent it from happening, so she joined one of our Sexual Violence Workshop Series. Following the series, she became a champion for LvA’s cause and services, referring several people from her circle of friends and neighbourhood to us for legal support and counselling. LvA operates on the assumption that an increase in knowledge about the legal system will empower women to make use of it to their benefit. Thabiso and other women like her who have attended our workshops assist LvA in spreading that knowledge and improving access to justice for all women in Diepsloot.

As for Thabiso and Noluthando, after over a decade of abuse, they were empowered to move out of the shared residence, and to start afresh in a new city. They continue to call and/or visit LvA to express their gratitude for LvA’s support.  

Nokulunga’s Journey with LvA

Whenever Nokulunga refused to have sex with her husband, he would choke her and beat her all over her body with clenched fists. He once beat her so badly that she had to seek medical care from Helen Joseph Hospital. Whenever she reported the abuse to the police, they told her that such matters were handled within the family, or, at most, would reprimand her husband for his conduct. LvA assisted Nokulunga in applying for a protection order against her husband, which was granted. After receiving the order, Nokulunga continued attending LvA’s weekly group therapy sessions. Over the next several months, there were noticeable changes in Nokulunga’s demeanour as she was visibly happier and more confident. She attributed these positive changes to the impact of the group therapy sessions. Further empowered, we saw Nokulunga take control over other areas of her life, including applying for a maintenance order against her husband. Nokulunga is just one of the countless clients LvA has assisted who, with professional and nuanced psychological and/or legal support, are able to move from a place of victimisation to one of empowerment.

Please note client names and certain details have been changed to protect identities.

Links:

Nov 10, 2016

Importance of Integration

LvA’s integrated approach to gender-based violence, providing both legal and psycho-social services, is unique. This is particularly true in Diepsloot, where the LvA’s services are the only ones of their kind in the community. The importance and success of such an integrated approach can be seen in the two client stories shared below.

Thabiso’s Journey with LvA

Thabiso is a 24-year-old mother of two. She initially came to LvA with her mother, Noluthando, seeking a protection order against her abusive stepfather. The abuse had been going on for over 14 years and was directed at Noluthando, Thabiso, and their other children. When they came to LvA, both agreed to counselling to deal with the severe traumatic after-effects of the violence. Thabiso entered individual therapy and they both became regular participants in LvA’s group therapy. Through her sessions, Thabiso identified GBV as a critical issue in Diepsloot and wanted to know more about its drivers, and do more to prevent it from happening, so she joined one of our Sexual Violence Workshop Series. Following the series, she became a champion for LvA’s cause and services, referring several people from her circle of friends and neighbourhood to us for legal support and counselling. LvA operates on the assumption that an increase in knowledge about the legal system will empower women to make use of it to their benefit. Thabiso and other women like her who have attended our workshops assist LvA in spreading that knowledge and improving access to justice for all women in Diepsloot.

As for Thabiso and Noluthando, after over a decade of abuse, they were empowered to move out of the shared residence, and to start afresh in a new city. They continue to call and/or visit LvA to express their gratitude for LvA’s support.  

Nokulunga’s Journey with LvA

Whenever Nokulunga refused to have sex with her husband, he would choke her and beat her all over her body with clenched fists. He once beat her so badly that she had to seek medical care from Helen Joseph Hospital. Whenever she reported the abuse to the police, they told her that such matters were handled within the family, or, at most, would reprimand her husband for his conduct. LvA assisted Nokulunga in applying for a protection order against her husband, which was granted. After receiving the order, Nokulunga continued attending LvA’s weekly group therapy sessions. Over the next several months, there were noticeable changes in Nokulunga’s demeanour as she was visibly happier and more confident. She attributed these positive changes to the impact of the group therapy sessions. Further empowered, we saw Nokulunga take control over other areas of her life, including applying for a maintenance order against her husband. Nokulunga is just one of the countless clients LvA has assisted who, with professional and nuanced psychological and/or legal support, are able to move from a place of victimisation to one of empowerment.

Please note client names and certain details have been changed to protect identities.

Links:

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:

 
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