For survivors of sexual violence, the associated health risks are a big part of the healing journey. In partnership with AmplifyChange, a sexual and reproductive health rights fund, Rape Crisis has been hosting a series of workshops on these risks. These workshops are centred on the free sexual health services we all have a right to access, where to find these services, and what to do and how to complain if we do not get access to them. Getting the message out beyond these smaller workshop spaces was a challenge that AmplifyChange wanted to help us solve.
Our workshops are spaces for all of us to come together to talk about our lives, to find strength in doing so and to reclaim the power to be in charge of our own health. As an organisation, the link between our work and how we communicate it to the world using publications, media and social media is something we think about deeply because we have not always been completely successful at doing it well. There have been few links made between the community members that take part in our workshops, the volunteers from that community that run the workshops, our staff and our social media following. This has encouraged us to journey towards a more inclusive approach to communications. We realised that this approach could only work once we involved our internal teams to join the communications team and work together to co-create a communication strategy alongside designers, writers and photographers, which is how the “Know Your Rights” poster series was born. For some guidance on the co-creation process we used the Human-Centered Design Thinking approach which follows the following steps.
EMPATHY, UNDERSTANDING AND COLLABORATION (EMPATHY)
Co-creation can mean many things but for us it meant pulling together all the relevant teams involved in doing training on the ground, the photographers who document these training programmes as well as the coordinators and volunteers who facilitate them. Our sessions took place at various points in the project. We allowed ourselves to spend a lot of time talking about the workshops as a way of understanding and empathising with the context of each community. We spent some time trying to come up with a name for this campaign but in the end, we realised that it was as simple as people knowing and understanding their rights and therefore went with “Know Your Rights.”
SOMETIMES IT’S HARD TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM (DEFINE)
Our teams were able to define the problem and (best of all) come up with ideas and create solutions. We realised that our different forms of communication did not always speak to one another or reflect the context and the audiences we interact with in the workshops. The solution came in the form of six characters that each represent an archetype in their community, are a composite of our workshop participants and share a message that can reach that community and beyond it. We gave each character a name, a back story and a different message to share about how dangerous rape can be to our bodies and minds.
We hope that what we have created may be relevant to the communities we speak of and at the same time that they will be easy for much wider communities to relate to as well. While this was a lengthy process, the teams that took part in it enjoyed it a lot and were happy that it was an inclusive approach to developing communications.
MOVING BETWEEN THE LEFT AND RIGHT BRAIN (IDEATE)
The six posters showing the six characters that each tell a different story barely scratch the surface of the other kinds of stories that we hear in our workshops and that we know are out there. Working alongside Russell Abrahams, the illustrator behind the posters, encouraged our teams to actively participate as he brought a very easy-going approach to the design process, and we learnt a lot about design just by having him present in our sessions. Part of the beauty of using this framework, is that it encourages participation and therefore including teams helped to create inclusive ideas.
Today more than ever we rely on stories and art to send messages, to help others and to deepen our understanding of what we are creating and who we are creating it for. These stories, images and messages aim to create awareness about the specialised services that are available to all survivors of sexual violence in South Africa. In our posters and in our process we used the right brain work of storytelling to achieve the left brain work of internalising information and remembering facts. We hope our journey will enhance the healing journey of an even greater number of rape survivors as they reach out for help and access the health services they have a right to.
IT’S EXCITING TO SEE IDEAS COME TO LIFE (PROTOTYPE)
Journeying towards creating more inclusive work requires teams to deepen their thinking about how communities perceive “inclusion” and what barriers prevent them from receiving information, sharing information and taking action. We must be grounded in our approach to serve communities, whether we choose to do it through digital communications or traditional offline communications. Part of accomplishing this, is to ensure that our teams work cohesively together, and that we value and acknowledge each other for what we bring to the table.
These 6 posters will be released on our social media platforms, so for more information on this awareness work follow our social media accounts below, and we will also be printing and distributing the posters in various locations in Cape Town.
@rapecrisis_capetown on Instagram
@rapecrisiscapetowntrust on Facebook
@RapeCrisis on Twitter
Emma O’Shaughnessy – Communications consultant
Rape Crisis team
Rifqah Barnes and team- Training and Development coordinator Athlone
Kholeka Booi and team – Training and Development coordinator Khayelitsha
Deliwe Ngqwala – Training and Development volunteer in Khayelitsha
Nosicelo Mfumbe – Training and Development volunteer in Khayelitsha
Nomthandazo Tshingo – Training and Development volunteer in Khayelitsha
Tohira Jardien – Training and Development volunteer in Athlone
Rachmat Davids – Training and Development volunteer in Athlone
Sharlize Hendricks – Training and Development volunteer in Athlone
Jameelah Ismail – Fundraising officer
Palesa Lekhesa – TCC Coordinator
Kath Dey – Director
Sino Mdunjeni – Digital officer
Jeanne Bodenstein – Advocacy specialist
Janet Austin – M&E specialist
Neliswa Tshazi – Court Support Coordinator
Shiralee McDonald – Counselling Coordinator in Observatory
Barbara Williams – Operations Manager
Nazma Davids – Deputy Director
Zeenat Hendricks – Communications Coordinator
Methodologies and Framework Inspiration:
Human-Centred Design Thinking – https://www.designkit.org/human-centered-design
Participatory Design – http://kateferguson.org/portfolio/participatory-design-handbook.html
Zeenat Hendricks – Communications Coordinator for Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust