Life as we knew it in South Africa came to a screeching halt in late February when the novel coronavirus hit our shores. We had read the news but were not prepared for what life would be like once this mysterious virus was close to home. Suddenly it felt like the world had become a real-life episode of Black Mirror. Hysteria almost spread faster than the virus itself and four months later, the effects of both have been tragic and fatal. Now it feels like none of us have been untouched or unaffected by loss of life, health, safety and security.
Living through a time that has challenged us in so many ways has had a few positive outcomes however. It has showed us that we are resilient and brought to light the value of human connection. It has empowered us to shift the focus on to what is really important to us. Lending a helping hand, spreading kindness and assisting one another in times of need are inherent human qualities that can sometimes fade to the background in the constant buzzing of the fast-paced, self-centred lives we usually live.
Perhaps I sound a bit optimistic and slightly utopian for focusing on the more encouraging aspects of living through a pandemic but I do believe that being under lockdown has afforded some the opportunity to slow down. Perpetual busyness has been replaced with staying home. And while slowing down has given some of us the opportunity to reassess and re-evaluate, we can’t help but think about those who do not have sanctuary in a space that they should call home.
And so, the cycle of rage begins all over again. In a time where the world is trying to stay safe from a killing virus and people are dying and fighting and protesting and being hurt on the streets and in their own homes, our collective outrage can easily turn into hopelessness. It can be overwhelming to consume heavy information about the atrocities of the world when you feel there is not much you can do about it other than sign a petition or share knowledge. Don’t give up hope. There is value in using your platform and voice to share knowledge or even just educating yourself to learn and unlearn about the oppressions of others or yourself. As my fellow colleague and gifted writer, Neliswa Tshazi said in a previous blog, “… even the smallest forms of activism can help the greater protection of human rights.”
With that being said however, we have reached a point in history where we can no longer be silent witnesses and bystanders. Now is the time to transform our collective outrage into collective action. Rape Crisis recognizes and shares that indignation and wants to facilitate ease in anyone’s process of channelling that rage into activity, particularly in the fight against gender-based violence. We have created a Fundraising Toolkit that simplifies and explains the steps to take if you would like to raise funds and create a campaign using easily accessible resources. If you are interested in ways in which you can use social media, or your collaborative projects in order to get people to donate money to a good cause, then this one is for you. You can find this toolkit on our website as well as our Instagram.
“Every little bit counts” is a statement you may have heard many times before but it’s only because it’s so true. A good place to start is with the willingness to make a change to the current effects of GBVF (Gender-Based Violence and Femicide) in our country. That willingness will be found with the women and femme bodies that have the lived experience to say enough is enough. I am one of them, and if you’re reading this then you are most likely one too. So let’s band together and fight this fight.
Jameelah Ismail, Fundraising Officer at Rape Crisis, is a 24 year old freelancer with a vibrant personality and creative soul. Her other work includes being a makeup artist and an au pair as well as a vintage clothing enthusiast.