Helping those traumatised by rape, abuse and domestic violence – especially women – in the face of mounting violence, is what counsellors of the Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Line have been doing for the past 20 years.
Geraldine Young from East
ridge, one of the founding members of the Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Line, has been with the organisation for 15 years.
“Human Rights are women rights, that’s our slogan for our organisation. We strive to help people as much as we can in our community.”
Ms Young said with more men coming forward, they had started counselling sessions for men too.
Helping survivors of domestic violence and rape is their main focus. A reality for most women in the community, it also affects the staff of the organisation.
Buyiswa Ngewu, from Nyanga, has been with the organisation for two years.
“When we have to deal with these issues we need to speak to someone we trust, in confidence, so that we too can cope with the issues from our clients. It becomes too much sometimes, but when passion drives you, you won’t have to work a day in your life,” she said.
The Department of Social Development (DSD) trains them to deal with the issues their clients face as well as how to manage the stress that comes with the job.
At the organisation, they focus on educational programmes for clients, which Ms Young takes charge of, as well as therapeutic work and support groups, that Ms Ngewu facilitates.
They work closely with the courts as most of their cases are referred by court orders, hospitals, schools and walk-ins. Under-18s are referred to organisations that help children.
Ms Young worked in the corporate world first, then decided to join the Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Line back when it started.
“Our community is a traumatised community. We need a lot of education to train people about these issues. If people do not understand their circumstance, it can become a problem.”
Eastridge, Beacon Valley and Tafelsig have a rampant prevalence of domestic violence and rape cases, said Ms Ngewu.
“I have reached out to the seniors as they are the most vulnerable people of the community,” said Ms Ngewu.
Ms Young said: “One of the issues that affects our clients is poverty.” She said this impacts on their counselling sessions with clients who often have to walk to sessions.
Whateverthechallenges though, Ms Young said that to work in the social development and counselling sector: “One needs to have a passion for what you do, and you need to love what you do. Some people cannot handle these cases and end up leaving the profession but staying true to your passion makes your job so much easier.”
If you would like to help the organisation or become a volunteer at Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Line, contact Ms Young at 021 391 2594, or visit their offices at the Foshini building, 8 Minuet Lane, Town Centre.