Crisis forum makes a difference

Mitchells Plain Crisis Forum chairperson Joanie Fredericks and member Washiela Smith at their offices in Tafelsig.

In the four months since its inception in March, the Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Forum has been busy, involved in at least 25 cases of missing children and sexual abuse, in Mitchell’s Plain and other parts of the city.

The organisation, based in Freedom Park, Tafelsig, offers a range of services including searches when a child goes missing; counselling for those who have experienced trauma; support at court appearances, in the form of demonstrations; awareness and legal support.

Forum chairperson Joanie Fredericks said the organisation had also been inundated with requests for help with cold cases.

“We have 25 cases that we either already assisted with or are busy with now. We have been asked to assist in cold cases such as sexual assault and rape cases.

“As a organisation, we also follow up on cases and check how far the investigation is and if it is moving on the court roll. Residents are becoming victims of crime, so it is important for us to hold the police accountable,” she said.

Ms Fredericks said the organisation had a family support and a research desk.

Among those being assisted by the organisation is a Tafelsig woman who was raped twice by a man who was known in the community and had helped her by giving her groceries and advice on job hunting. I cried and was extremely emotional at the time. My mother saw that there was something wrong and then I told her. This was after the second rape. We went straight to the police station, did a test and then came home,” she said.

The woman said it was months before she got any feedback.

“I withdrew myself and pushed people away. I became this angry person and even had suicidal thoughts.

“It was a traumatic experience and the person I used to be, a friendly, lively person changed after the incident,” she said.

But the Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Forum has been helping her. “At first it was difficult to talk about because it brings back horrible memories.

“With the help of the MPCF, I am becoming stronger,” she said.

The accused will appear in the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court on Monday July 17.