UWC Nursing Students Raise Funds To Help Victims Of Sexual Violence

PICTURE: Harriet Box

As gender-based violence continues to impacts too many lives in South Africa and around the world, UWC fourth year students at the School of Nursing have decided join hands to find a solution to it. 

About 250 nursing students will embark on a three day campaign to raise funds from 26 to 28 September 2017. The campaign will be taken at  21 major intersections around the northern and southern suburbs of Cape Town.

The nursing students will be collecting money from motorists during the morning rush hour traffic in Cape Town Central, Rondebosch, Tableview and Milnerton in the city areas and at intersections in Parow, Plattekloof, Bellville and Kraaifontein in the northern suburbs.

Nursing student Jeremy Tarr, who serves on the organizing committee for the event and has worked in a hospital trauma department, says as representatives of the School of Nursing, “they would like to put their efforts into providing for the financial needs of the victims they’ve seen in their line of work.” 

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“It’s important to underline that sexual violence doesn’t only affect women. Men are beating men and women are beating men as well. We also want to move from the common media focus of male on female violence,” says Tarr.

“It is integral to nursing students’ training to recognize and address this issue since health professionals are the public’s first line of contact.

“[Our] modules require that [we] use acquired skills in the nursing programme to engage in various communities.

“Two of [our] modules in particular – Gender-Based Violence and Psychiatric Nursing Science – require students to engage with the community in different ways.

“The overall aim of these modules is to enable us to be socially responsive citizens, and to participate in the management of persons who have been affected, by Gender Based Violence, and other vulnerable population groups,” he said. 

Their community engagement and support is mostly focused around the Fisantekraal community outside Durbanville.

“Some victims have nowhere to turn to, since most of the abuse takes place in their family homes,” he says.

“In many cases they left their homes with no money, and they are often not the primary breadwinner of the household. In some cases women walk out with only their children, which is why we would like to support places like Hagar Home for the Destitute,” he added. 

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Hagar Home caters for the needs of abused women and children as a result of gender-based violence. The students will focus on educating members of the youth team on how to identify signs of physical, emotional and sexual abuse; educating pre-teens and young adults on changes in their bodies, hygiene keeping themselves safe; and supplying teens and children with necessary hygiene products and educational supplies. The facility itself also needs upgrading, so that women and children are able to receive the basic tools to help  uplift and empower them.

“It’s because of homes like these that victims realize that there is an alternative and that they don’t have to stay in an abusive relationship. Gender-based violence is the world’s most common form of human rights violation, and it effects everyone – different races, social classes, ages and ethnic groups,” says Tarr.

The Balula Children Daycare and Craft Centre, founded by resident Cynthia Wondo of the Fisantekraal community, is another of their supported spaces.

“We are aiming to educate parents, children and the greater community about how intellectual disability makes individuals soft targets for gender based violence. We also want to create awareness of how these individuals are at risk for abuse,” Tarr explains.

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“We also want to improve the facilities and equipment of Balula, to create a safer and more learning-friendly environment for the children,” he concluded. 

 Beneficiaries closer to home include the University community itself, as well as the Lighthouse Church in Belhar.

 Any businesses or individuals who would like to contribute to this worthy cause should feel free to contact jhoffman@uwc.ac.za or visit the university website www.uwc.ac.za.