South Africa's secret shelter: A safe haven for abused women and children

6 days ago 351

Through the help and expertise of the Nissa Institute for Women's Development - a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, opposed to all forms of oppression against women, women who have managed to escape abusive relationships, have a safe haven from their abusers, and receive counselling.

As the world observes the The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Friday, it is evident that the surge of gender-based violence, particularly against women, is one that needs immediate and sustainable intervention.

On Wednesday, South Africa's police minister released the quarterly crimes statistics where he announced that 10,000 rape cases had been opened between July and September of this year.

After years of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of her husband of 18 years, one woman, who withheld her name for her protection, managed to escape with her children aged 10 and 15 years.

A family friend noticed she was being abused by her husband and helped her leave, she said.

Another woman came to the shelter after being locked in a room in a rented property by a man she met online.

She said she feared for her daughter's life as the man threatened to kill her and rape her daughter if she ever tried to leave or alert others on the property.

Held hostage with only a bucket to relieve herself, it was these threats that kept her from slipping a letter she had penned asking for help under the locked door.

Having safely escaped her abusive relationship, she urged other women to do the same.

"It doesn't matter whether it's your children's father or your husband or whatever. Even if you don't have a home... just leave," she said.

Organisations such as the Nissa Institute for Women's Development continue to fight for the voiceless by providing shelter, therapy and support to women and children who have nowhere to go.

Through their support, one the women at the shelter was able to get her first job after 18 years as a call centre agent.

She said she hopes to rent a room so she and her children can start again.

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