NPO takes a stand against violence

SUMMER JACOBS

“Violence against women and children is a disease growing at a fast pace,” says Basha Taylor, the founder of the non-profit organisation Women and Beyond.

The organisation, which gives free counselling and support to women and children facing poverty, abuse and violence, has moved from Blouberg to Sunningdale.

Now based in the Emporium shopping complex, Ms Taylor wants to set up a women and children centre, but she needs all the help she can get.

“The challenge we have at this stage is putting the women and children centre together and securing sponsors to help us pay rent, telecoms, facilitate training, coordinate awareness campaigns in schools and communities and travelling for case management,” said Ms Taylor.

Starting as a prayer group in her River Hamlet flat in Table View, Women and Beyond became a registered non-profit organisation in 2010.

While living in River Hamlet, one of Ms Taylor’s neighbours was abused by her husband.

She could hear their fights. One day, the husband stabbed his pregnant wife several times, leaving a bloodbath behind.

“This was a policeman. He used to wear his uniform. It shows us that violence aimed at women goes deeper than moral and societal rules. He is someone people depend on for security and safety, and yet in his own home he threatens to take the life of his wife and unborn child,” she said.

Over the years, the NPO has faced “severe financial challenges”, but despite this it has always managed to help those in need.

“Gender violence is a broad spectrum which encompasses the entire family,” said Ms Taylor.

“We assist victims with counsellors, social workers, psychologists and, in some cases, medical doctors. We are basically the mouthpiece of victims.”

Currently, Women and Beyond is dealing with 162 cases in the three regions in which it operates: the Western Cape, Free State and Gauteng. Ms Taylor, a qualified nurse, works night shift at Blaauwberg Netcare Hospital and Panorama Mediclinic to keep it going.

She has taken leases out in her name so it has office space.

She said those who were silent about the abuse of others were also to blame for the vicious cycle continuing.

“We are to blame for allowing it to continue. We have to own up to our responsibilities. We have to own up to our shame,” she said.

Sitting in the large empty room save for a few piles of magazines and a few bags filled with knitting wool, Ms Taylor has big plans for the space and she hopes to find sponsors to support them.

“I want to put up partitions and have a counselling room and a room where we can facilitate training. We need computers for administration where we can document our cases,” she said.

“One thing that has kept us going has been the success stories we’ve had, such as successful prosecutions. After eight years of running the organisation, we have helped many lives.”

* If you would like to become a volunteer, send an email to info@womenandbeyond.org.za or call Basha Taylor at 072 713 5090.