If you were raped, would you be able to access adequate post-rape care? For too many the answer is a shocking no, like 41-year old Bianca Jonkers* who was gang raped by seven men in Diepsloot earlier this year. The next morning, she had to travel about 20kms to Randburg to access care because the two local clinics in her area could not assist her. As a rape survivor, Bianca* should have had access to counselling, the morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy, antibiotics to prevent infection, an HIV test and a month of antiretrovirals if she was HIV negative to reduce chances of contracting HIV. Her nearest Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC), a one-stop government-run service offering rape care including counselling services, is at Tembisa Hospital, 30kms away from Dieplsloot .
But Bianca* will not be the only woman to go through difficulties accessing post-rape care, as international funding for TCCs is drying up . This put critical services needed by victims survivors at risk. This lack of support means that rape survivors face further harm including unwanted pregnancies, HIV infection and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But we can and must change this to ensure that government provides effective post-rape services. When women have been under attack, the amandla.mobi community has consistently come together to fight this. We can do it again.
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* Not her real name
To the Department of Health, Social Development and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)],
We, the undersigned, call on you to commit to ensuring that all rape victims are able to access adequate post-rape services. Government needs to ensure that existing Thuthuzela Care Centres are strengthened and work towards increasing the number of these centres.
To Health MECs in all provinces
We call on you to ensure that every 24 hour health facility is able to offer a basic package of services to rape survivors, including referral and transport to better equipped facilities where necessary.
NB: This is a part of a Health-e News IZWI LAMI - MY VOICE campaign. At the heart of this campaign is an effort to collect the testimonies of survivors, put them in touch with counseling services, and campaign for packages of care for all survivors. This will be done through free SMS-driven survey and questionnaire platform. By texting the keyword 'ENDRAPE’ to 38006 rape survivors can take part in a conversation about their personal accounts, and receive information about counseling services in their provinces.