April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). SAAM is observed to raise awareness and provide education about sexual assault prevention. For the 21st annual SAAM, we launched the #SurvivorSeries on our social media channels. The video series was created during what we dubbed our ‘Storytelling Circles’ – where survivors and members of our organisation got the opportunity to share their very personal survivor journeys.
Storytelling is central to our work at Rape Crisis. Everyday survivors invite us into their lives to walk their journeys of recovery and personhood in our counselling programme. The ‘Storytelling Circles’ were an expansion of that – a group setting of support and empowerment that nurtured a courageously unfiltered expression of the intricacies of the rape (and sexual violence) survivor journey.
Three (3) beautiful women allowed us an unfettered look into their journeys. We allowed each storyteller to speak as freely as they pleased, and the result is an electrically unbridled video series that gets to the heart of the experiences of rape survivors in South Africa. The Circles were led by a storytelling coach, Philippa Namutebi Kabali-Kagwa, who highlights and unpacks the value of storytelling as a medium in the introduction video (that you can watch below).
The #SurvivorSeries is comprised of five (5) videos – including a courageous first-hand survivor account, a second-hand account of a rape survivor’s experience with the police, as well as a Rape Crisis Volunteer’s experiences touching the lives of survivors at our community workshops. What you will hear will be sensitive, sometimes challenging and may be triggering. The videos all have a trigger warning at the beginning – if what you hear does trigger you, please do not hesitate to contact our 24-hour counselling helpline 021 447-9762.
Overview – Phillippa on the power of storytelling
Kath – On the immeasurable value of storytelling at Rape Crisis
Fumana – On what a family member did to her when she was 8 years old
Nomvula – On how a Rape Crisis workshop helped a rape survivor with the police
Nosipho – On her journey touching the lives of rape survivors as a Rape Crisis workshop facilitator
Former Rape Crisis Director, Kath Dey: “At Rape Crisis we believe in the principle of empowerment. Rape essentially takes away a person’s power, and it takes away all choice and agency that they have in that particular moment. There are many things that are traumatic about rape, but that helplessness and inability to have any impact over what is happening is a very powerful part of it.
“Everything that we do at Rape Crisis is designed to undo that. And to renew the possibility of having power, of having choice, of having agency – of being able to have impact on your world and on your life.”
The #SurvivorSeries was filmed by the Msizi Agency.