If you follow the Rape Survivors’ Justice Campaign’s digital platforms, you have probably come across a post about Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs). These are one-stop facilities where rape survivors can access medical care, psychosocial support, and can even report the rape to the police. They sound great. And in many instances they are great. But there are only 55 of them in our country which spans 1,221 million km². That is A LOT of km².
That means there are countless small towns, rural communities and housing settlements where there is no TCC in sight. Nada. Not one. Not even a whiff of a TCC. And the obvious question is, what about rape survivors who don’t have access to such a one-stop facility? That is the question that the RSJC team at Rape Crisis has been grappling with over the past few years. Our successful work on sexual offences courts has shown us that a survivor-centred criminal justice system is important. It has also reminded us that many rape survivors never see the inside of a court, often because they do not have access to the first step in the criminal justice system – post rape care.
As activists and advocates for change, we have to imagine the world as it COULD be. And we imagine access to care, everywhere. We dream of a South Africa where every rape survivor in the 1 221 million km² that is our country has access to:
– medical care,
– a forensic examination,
– psycho-social support,
– a referral for longer term counselling, and the
– means to report the crime at the police.
Every rape survivor having access to these five components of post rape care is the change that we want.
We therefore advocate for these five components/services to be protected in legislation and to be provided to survivors in every corner of the country. The mechanism of how these services are delivered could look different in different contexts. It might be at a local clinic. It might be at a state hospital. It might be in a van. It might be at a TCC.
If you spent your precious time reading this blog, we believe that this is a change that you care about too. This will be a long journey (it took us five years to get Sexual Offences Courts protected in legislation with a set of minimum standards and a plan for the rollout and designation). So Access to Care, Everywhere will probably be no different.