WAR brings peace to rape survivors

Carey Robinson, left, and Linda van der Poel packing food parcels for pets.

Woman Against Rape (WAR) is a non-profit organisation helping rape victims.

Founded in 2000 by Janine Rowley, a rape survivor, War began by delivering comfort parcels to rape victims at police stations.

As the word spread so did the need for War’s services, which include education programmes, comfort and counselling.

Carey Robinson, director of War’s Western Cape branch has been with the organisation since 2015.

“My husband and I were involved with Meals on Wheels before but wanted to also help smaller, less well known NPOs to meet their goals,” she said.

War has several trauma centres across the Western Cape, including Table View and the Community Intervention Centre (CIC) in Milnerton. They also have a safe house in Table View.

Bread, clothing and toiletries are donated regularly to the centres.

The comfort packs, found at police stations and trauma centres, include: tissues, a cool drink, a chocolate and sweets, a teddy or other soft toy, soap, shampoo, a facecloth, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, clean underwear, sanitary pads and deodorant.

War holds talks at companies, schools and in communities, where they also drop off thousands of sandwiches a month. They have handed out educational activity books and DVDs, covering topics such as stranger danger, inappropriate touching and bullying, to various schools including some in Dunoon.

Ms Robinson said War was all about educating people and shattering myths about rape.

“We want victims and the people that care about them to know rape is a crime of violence; that is not the victim’s fault. Anyone can get raped, from a baby to a nun, to a lady wearing a short skirt. What you are wearing doesn’t make you to blame.”

She said all victims of rape had a right to be heard and counselled with empathy and care.

“At this time, we have such wonderful kind-hearted people who are sponsoring comfort packs and counselling sessions for the abused women, men, children and animals.”

War has been helping Lily Anderson since her family took in three children, aged from two to seven, from the streets. The 63-year-old Tygerdal resident said raising such small children was a challenge but she had made it work with War’s help.

“I was introduced to War by a very old friend of mine. I was assisted in every way, with food, clothes and more. I just don’t know whether I could have coped this well without the support of War. The literature and CDs helped me so much and even helped me understand and communicate better with the little ones. These people are doing wonders, I would love to get the word out there about this wonderful organisation,” said Ms Anderson.

Table View police spokeswoman Captain Adriana Chandler said War’s team of “dedicated and passionate people” was helping to “eradicate the scourge of violence in our communities”.

The organisation had helped Table View police with many crime-awareness projects and donated care packages to the police for distribution to victims of abuse.

“When the concern of domestic violence in Site 5 informal settlement was raised with War, they immediately offered to become part of the team to address this issue,” said Captain Chandler.

War will hold a charity breakfast, with a self-defence demonstration, at Maestro’s Restaurant, Woodbridge Island, tomorrow Thursday March 9. For more information, email Ms Robinson at carey@
womanagainstrape.co.za