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Our New Logo Embodies Our Vision and Mission

Posted in Success Stories

We’ve had some major changes to the behind the scenes running of Safe House since the start of 2018. It has not been an easy year. It was time to turn over a new leaf and refresh ourselves with a brand new look that gives cognisance to how far we have come, but also to where we are headed in the future.

We wanted our image out there in the world to mean something. We wanted to identify with its symbolism.

Here is some insight into why we now have the logo we do.

Safe House Stellenbosch

Not only does the logo now resonate with the staff of the organisation, but also the women and families we serve with the work we do. We are a shelter of hope, giving our residents a chance to create a new life where the future is bright.

If you would like to become a Friend of Safe House by donating a small monthly amount to help with our running expenses – CLICK HERE.

Find out more about being a Volunteer HERE.

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Celebrating women in August and every day

Posted in Articles

 

Celebrating Women on a specific day or month is a great thing, it helps to bring awareness to certain important issues relating to women. But the reality is that we should respect and appreciate women every day. The harsh reality is that every day women are exposed to violence and abuse. Women are our mother’s, sister’s or friends, not one of these women should have to suffer in silence or alone.

 

When it comes around to that time of year again, ‘Women’s Day’, companies and others run campaigns that promote standing together and the upliftment of women. But still every day there are more and more cases of abuse being reported. This awareness should be carried throughout the year, not put back in a box until the following year again. Women should be encouraged to speak out against the violence and abuse. To shine a light on the issue and to not let it remain hidden and in the dark. By ignoring important issues, does not only affect a single women, but ripples out to touch all around her, including the children in families.

 

“Here’s to Strong Women. May we know Them. May We Be Them. May We raise Them.” Unknown

 

The best part about women’s day, is that we can celebrate all women, but we can also applaud those women who have achieved success in political, social and economic arenas. We can also commend those women and think about the women who came before us and sometimes sacrificed much so that we can have what we do today.

Ways you can celebrate Women Every Day

Sometimes the most simple things, mean the most. Give an encouraging word, tell the women in your life how much they mean to you and what you love about them. If you want to add some flower or chocolates with that, go ahead, but the words are the most important. One of the lost arts of today, is card making, and I don’t mean via 123greeting.com. Actually taking the time to make something from scratch would mean much more than a quick message on the phone, although these are nice too.

 

You can support women locally or internationally by making donations to your chosen charity. Make monthly contributions to help abused women or sponsor education to girls who don’t have access to schooling. There is also the option of getting involved by volunteering, doing things like handing out pamphlets or helping to organising relevant events. One of the trends every year to bring awareness to women’s issues, is to participate in run/walk events. This is very popular, fun and something you can do with family and friends.

 

Get together, ask all your favourite women in your life to invite a friend. In this way you can meet new people, forge new friendships and broaden your social network. Or surprise your wife, sister or friend with something good. Take them out to dinner, make the meal yourself, something special you know they would enjoy. Random acts of kindness are a great way to show appreciation. This involves spending time together, which in today’s society is very difficult for some. Everybody is always in a rush, prioritising the women and others in your life is more important.

 

In society, women have for many years and are still considered less or weaker, it is time to realise that women are just as strong in their own way and are there to support, nurture and be who they are meant to be. To contribute to society in a way that makes the world a better place.

 

Kids can also celebrate the women and mom’s in their lives. Here are a few ways to show how much you appreciate your mom.

 

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Why addiction and abuse go hand in hand

Posted in Articles

 

How does addiction start, why does somebody feel the need to drink or take drugs? The main reason is many people wish to desperately change something in their lives. Some of these reasons include:

 

  • To try and escape a bad experience and the memory of that experience, trauma or stress.
  • Peer pressure, the person wants to fit in
  • To rebel or even experiment
  • Some even drink alcohol or take drugs to relax
  • Depression or mental health issues

 

Even if your circumstances are difficult turning to drugs or alcohol will only worsen the condition and cause a whole set of new problems. These problems can affect your personal health and the relationships with those around you. In the case of domestic violence, it has been found that those who commit the violence have been either drinking or taking drugs. The use and addiction of drugs or alcohol is not one sided, those being abused are also at a higher risk of turning to the use of alcohol or drugs themselves.

 

Some of the facts about addiction and abuse:

 

  • Those who are addicted to and abuse alcohol are at a much higher risk of displaying violent behaviour. This is especially true with people who suppress their feelings and emotions. Those who are angry and drink to the point of intoxication can lose control of their pent up anger.
  • Many times those who physically abuse others while on drugs or drunk may inflict even more harm than normal.
  • Many of those who become addicted are victims themselves of childhood abuse
  • Treatment alone for addiction will not cure the abusive behaviour.
  • Some reports reveal that a high percentage of domestic violence cases are related to alcohol or drugs.
  • A very high percentage of suicides and other violent crimes can lead back to the use of drugs or alcohol.
  • Many addicts are not violent, but may want to hurt themselves more than others.
  • It is important to note that certain addictive substances may have different effects on different people. Certain drugs can actually affect a person’s brain to trigger aggressive behaviour.
  • Many of the more highly addictive drugs or even alcohol can lower a person’s impulse control, which may lead to abusive behaviour and even sexual assault or rape.

 

Those who are the victims of abuse can involve married couples or partners, parents, children, siblings and relatives. Somebody who drinks and gets drunk often and then displays violent abusive behaviour may even blame the alcohol for their actions. This way they avoid taking responsibility for their abusive behaviour. The cycle of addiction and abuse needs to be stopped; otherwise it can carry on into the next generation. Studies have shown that many of the children who witness or experience the abuse, are at a higher risk of landing up in an abusive relationship themselves when they grow up. The child, of course, is also more likely to develop an addiction themselves.

The Most Common Behaviour traits of an addiction:

  • Lies. An addict may lie to cover up their use of drugs
  • Manipulation
  • They may even be committing crimes to get money to buy drugs
  • Avoiding the responsibility
  • Becoming abusive

 

Click here for 5 Common behaviour traits of an addict.

 

If you know somebody who may be addicted, learning to recognize the physical changes and also the behavioural changes can help to prevent the problem from progressing to further destructive consequences. The way to break the cycle of addiction and abuse is to seek professional help. With the help of rehabilitation and support, the addiction and abusive behaviour can be dealt with. There are many rehabilitation centres out there that can offer help, make that first step towards recovery.

 

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ADDICTION PROGRAMS

 

SERVICES

  • Awareness and primary prevention services;
  • Early intervention;
  • Treatment centres;
  • Reintegration and after-care support;
  • Integrated programmes with the Departments of Education and Health as well as Local Drug Action Committees of Local Authorities;
  • Co-ordination with partners, eg. NGO sector;
  • Standardising professional and management best practices;
  • Facilitate diversion programmes with the Social Crime Prevention Unit as a means of intervention with the youth at risk.

 

WHERE TO GET GOVERNMENT HELP

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Not all abuse is physical

Posted in Articles

What do you think of when somebody says they are being abused? Many would first think about bruises and physical abuse, but not all abuse is physical! Emotional and verbal abuse can be just as devastating, but tends to be subtle and difficult to define. This type of abuse can be insidious and almost elusive, as many cannot pinpoint the exact problem.

“Not all wounds are visible”

Who is affected by emotional abuse? This destructive type of behaviour can occur in any type of relationship.

  • Between a parent and a child
  • In any kind of friendship
  • With other relatives
  • Emotional and verbal abuse can also be found in the workplace or at school

 

The effects of emotional abuse can make another person doubt themselves and others, and slowly break down a person’s self-worth or self-esteem. Whoever came up with the saying ‘sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ was obviously in denial. Emotional and verbal abuse, if not dealt with correctly, can leave the person being abused with severe emotional pain and even long term psychological scars. The person being abused can develop severe anxiety and depression.

The main purpose of emotional abuse is to try and control and also to dominate another person. In many of the cases the abuser has not dealt with their own childhood traumas and may have been abused themselves. By not dealing with the issue in a constructive way and learning how to build positive relationships, the person can easily harbour resentment and anger. This person then goes out into society and displays the exact same behaviour to others.

Emotional abuse can lead to physical abuse, but not always. Although emotional and verbal abuse always seem to accompany physical abuse. Some of the signs of emotional abuse include:

  • Controlling behaviour – Always asking where you are going and who you are with. The abuser will try to isolate and control everything. Displays unreasonable jealous tendencies towards friends and colleagues.
  • Being manipulative and cruelly using emotional blackmail to get their way.
  • Meting out punishment that is undeserved
  • Emotional outburst that are unpredictable
  • Those who are abusive may have unrealistic expectations – for example demanding all your time to be with them.
  • Behaviour and speech that is derogative. Calling you stupid, swearing at you and undermining your thoughts and values, is derisive towards your appearance and insults your intelligence.
  • Continuously accusing you of lying and casts the blame of their behaviour onto you.
  • Deliberately withholding love or any type of communication and support
  • Continuous use of hurtful jokes or sarcastic remarks
  • In many cases overbearing and unwelcome teasing can also be seen as abusive

The first step towards any type of healing, is to recognize there is an actual problem. Some who have been in an abusive relationship for a length of time may think the problem is with them, but it’s not, stop blaming yourself. Sometimes it may be necessary to leave the abusive relationship, but if this is not the case then there must be some boundaries set. Let the person know that you will no longer participate in conversations that are meant to hurt and criticize.

You cannot change an abusive person and the choices they make, but you can control your response to them. In certain cases professional help may be needed to improve the relationship. The most important thing is not to isolate yourself and to make sure that you have a support network in place. It could be a friend, another family member, pastor or even a counsellor, but stop being silent.

The abuse cannot go on forever, eventually the stress will cause illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Remember to put your own needs first and that you no longer need to please and protect the abuser. They no longer have control or power over you.

5 Must Know signs of Emotional Abuse:
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Did you know that a child who has survived domestic violence, is likely to earn less

Posted in Articles

 

Domestic violence is not something that only affects a certain group of people. Let’s have a look at a man and a woman in an abusive relationship, the consequences do only just affect these two people. This is especially true if children are involved, as this problem can then extend into the next generation, and so the cycle carries on. But the problem doesn’t just stay within the family or relationships involved, the issue can also have an effect on the economy.

 

Suné Payne wrote an article on the matter for the Daily Maverick, explaining that billions of South African Rands goes towards costs involving violence or abuse against children. The article also explains how those children who have been abused are more likely to go into the world and earn a lot less than those that have not been abused. You can read more about this article here.

 

Domestic Abuse can be seen as a major public health issue, as it affects millions of people in the country. This is a problem that can affect a person’s entire life. Problems that arise can include things like physical injuries that need medical care, the use of thousands of rands towards health-care costs, the reduction of work productivity and in severe cases the death of the victim.

Some more consequences or risk factors of Domestic Abuse

  • Poor physical and mental health, a child can develop anxiety and depression that can have long-term effects.
  • The child who grows up around abuse may fall out of school and have a lack in education
  • This can then lead to poverty
  • The child could also develop a substance abuse, which in turn can lead to even more problems with money.
  • Some may develop a shopping addiction, which helps them escape from bad memories. Sometimes spending more than they earn and ultimately leading to debt and a bad credit history.
  • The problem can be so severe that eventually it may lead to criminal behaviour, violence and incarceration.
  • Being abused or witnessing abuse can affect your future relationships

 

Domestic Violence can also be a problem for those who have a job. Many victims may be distracted at work, fear harassment at the workplace by the abusive partner, all of this can lead to a decline in productivity and an inability to find and keep a stable job. In fact any childhood trauma can have a future impact on finances.

 

How can trauma or domestic abuse lead to financial issues?

  • All of the negative emotions and abuse can lead to a lack of ambition
  • Many with severe stress disorders cannot plan or think far into the future
  • Sometimes abuse in the household can also include manipulation concerning money. The abuser can offer ‘treats’ as a way of gaining the victims silence.
  • This gives the victim a wrong viewpoint in the use of money and power, and can thus have an affect on their future financial dealings.

 

A large majority of domestic violence is against women and children. Many of these women and children could be successful contributors to the economy, but because of a lack in education, poverty, culture, and other problems, many of these women and children are exposed to violence, homelessness and severe health issues. All of these issues lead to survivors of abuse earning less or even nothing at all.

 

Unfortunately there are limited resources available and many of the organisations involved do not receive any government funding. To be able to implement a strategy for prevention of abuse, means that there must be more organised community programmes, and things like more social workers in the schools. The schools themselves can provide more education on the matter, and can provide a safe environment for those who need help. Communities need to support each other more, to stand together on such issues as Domestic Violence. To not keep silent about the problem.

Take action by making a donation today or by volunteering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Youth Month – why it’s important to remember our children

Posted in Articles

 

Youth Day is all about recognizing the youth in our society and why it is important to remember our children and how they are affected by our decisions. Think of the way that the protests held on the 16 June had an effect on future generations. The event brought to light the bravery and conviction of those students. In a broader aspect, Youth Day also represents the children of the world. Children we should be nurturing and protecting, but still there are many out there that experience abuse every day.

 

This special day should be a reminder, that the youth are our future and that they have the chance to make changes for the better in our world, and need to be protected and guided in the right direction. Children learn from their environments and from the people who take care of them. Those who are nurtured and grow in a loving environment, should become healthy members of society. Those who are exposed to abuse and unstable environments will suffer long-term effects, both with their emotional and physical health.

 

Each person and child manages stress differently; there are certain factors that can contribute to how a child responds. The child’s age can influence their response to bad situations, how often has the abuse being going on, how severe the abuse is, amongst other factors. Even if the child is a bystander to abuse, there are going to be negative effects.

 

Children also learn behaviour from their parents, a boy witnessing abuse towards his mother, learns to be violent against women. There has to be a break or a turning point in the cycle of abuse.

 

 

Here are a few long-term effects of abuse:

  • Problems with communication
  • Suffering from depression and anxiety and even suicidal behaviour
  • Trouble with school work, which can affect their chances of gaining entrance into a higher educational facility.
  • May turn to alcohol and drugs or suffer from eating disorders
  • Children who have been abused or witnesses abuse, are more likely to end up in an abusive relationships.
  • Long-term physical health problems

 

This is where women’s crisis shelters play an important and pivotal role in the community. The shelters provide much needed assistance both for the abused and their children.

 

Benefits of shelters:

  • Shelters provide a safe and secure environment
  • Child protection is offered
  • Emotional and physical support
  • Many offer a number of services from support groups, counselling, and legal assistance
  • Some even help the victims find employment and schooling options for the kids

 

Women who are being abused may feel that there is nowhere safe to go, and many times they are not self-sufficient and therefore feel trapped in their situation. Having a crisis shelter within the community provides a way out, a place to go where they can be safe. Especially if there is a child involved.

 

All shelters require donations to be able to provide all of these services. This is where the community should be standing together with these types of organisations. This is especially in the case for children, as they are usually the silent victims and need somebody to stand up for them. Many of the shelters can then implement support programmes where children are encouraged to develop healthy relationships and to overcome the negative results of abuse. The mother’s and children can both look to a future filled with hope and opportunities.

 

Without adequate funding, the services offered to these vulnerable children and women are limited. Many of the women rely on shelters for their safety as well as for basic needs like food and toiletries. So let’s remember the children and those who need somebody to stand with them in times of great need.

Donate Today.

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