Zuma urges for more help for victims of abuse

Monday, November 25, 2013

Braamfontein – President Jacob Zuma has cast the spotlight on the importance of support for victims of rape and abuse, to lessen their  trauma.

Zuma said this when he paid a visit to the Ikhaya Lethemba Centre, where he interacted with victims and staff members about their experiences.

He was accompanied by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau.

Zuma’s visit to the centre, which accommodates, counsels, rehabilitates and prepares rape and abuse victims for their court cases, marked the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign.

“It must be very devastating and intimidating [for rape victims] … to walk into the court and to be looked at by everybody.

“If I was a victim, I would go through a very terrible experience and justice has to be done for the perpetrator to be convicted. Then I have to re-live that thing again in such an environment.

“Legally, we need to find a way where we lessen the trauma,” he said.

Zuma said this when Ikhaya Lethemba staff took him on a tour of several facilities within the centre, including the library, computer training centre and the Justice Preparation Centre – where victims are prepared for court appearances in a room that has been designed like a courtroom.

Zuma later interacted with residents at the centre, but the media was barred from witnessing his interaction with them due to the sensitivity of revealing the identities of the victims as most of them are said to have escaped from their abusive partners.

He was expected to address some of the residents and the media outside the centre just before lunchtime. – SANews.gov.za