Pages Menu
Facebook
Categories Menu

Posted in Articles

Identifying The Signs Of Abuse In A Colleague Or Friend

Identifying The Signs Of Abuse In A Colleague Or Friend

How would you know if somebody you work with or even a friend is being abused? What should you look out for and how would you go about helping them?

Many times colleagues can be the ones to identify the signs of abuse as they have a different view of the other person’s life; they may even spot the signs more easily than somebody who is closer.

 

In both cases it is important to reach out to the person you think is being abused. You might be the only one who actually does something. Try and approach the individual in a non-judgmental and caring way. Sometimes just listening to a person can be extremely helpful.  If it is a colleague at work you may want to consider raising the issue with the company’s human resources department.

 

Often people think of abuse as something physical, but it encompasses a lot more than this one thing.  Abuse happens to both women and men, young and old. Many don’t speak about it, but it can even happen between family members, an adult child who is abusive towards their parents.

There are actually a few different types of ways that abuse can manifest:

 

  • The physical and sexual abuse
  • Emotional, verbal and psychological abuse
  • Harassment
  • Exerting control and coercion over another person
  • Economic / financial abuse, which can fall under control. This is where the abuser limits the resources available, forcing the victim to rely on them for finances.

 

The following signs displayed by the victim might indicate that abuse is occurring:

 

  • The person may start to wear clothing that they didn’t before, to cover up their bodies. Or have injuries that don’t quite match up with their explanation.
  • The abused person may withdraw from all social activities, cancel plans or make excuses for not attending meetings.
  • You may even be a witness to the abuse, where the abuser belittles and verbally assaults the person.
  • If your friend or colleague asks you to keep certain normal things secret, afraid of what their abuser might say or do.
  • If your work colleague’s work performance starts to suffer, poor concentration, handing in inconsistent or incomplete work and making a significant amount of errors.
  • Some abusers may even visit the partner at work, causing unpleasant scenes
  • If the spouse or abuser asks you questions about their partners whereabouts and activities
  • If the abused person is very reluctant to leave work
  • Signs of anxiety, not eating properly or becoming very jumpy and significantly less confident
  • The abused person may show signs in their body language – bent shoulders, doesn’t look anybody in the eye, avoiding conversations and choosing to sit alone.

 

“You can recognise survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren’t alone.” Jeanne Mcelvaney

What can you do about the abuse for a friend or colleague?

 

As mentioned before, offer your help and try to talk to your friend or colleague about it. If they do decide to talk, just listen. Try to provide information where they can get help; be careful if you give advice, sometimes your opinion might not be the best way. Offer your support more and show them your concern, let them know you’re there for them.

 

Some other ways to help:

  • It may come to a point where reporting the problem to authorities is the best option. Talking to management in a company or going to the police.
  • Gather information on how you can offer help and where to get help if you need it
  • Offer a safe place for them to come if they need to get away from their abuser

 

Call Lifeline for 24 hour support and telephone counselling: 011 422 4242 OR 0861 322 322

 

Here are some more important organisations you can contact for help.

(https://www.brandsouthafrica.com/governance/services/get-help-south-africa-abused)

 

 

 

 

Please follow, like and share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail Read More

Posted in Articles

The #MeToo campaign is for Men as well

The #MeToo campaign is for Men as well

The hashtag #MeToo is giving people a platform to speak out on sexual harassment and assault in the wake of several allegations made against Harvey Weinstein. However, it was not only women who shared their experiences, men also took part in the powerful social media campaign. That is why I am heartened to see so many men responding #MeToo. I believe, an extremely brave display of both vulnerability and solidarity with women who have suffered in silence for far too long.

 

In our patriarchal culture, men’s and boy’s self-expression is extremely limited. They are not allowed to express fear; they are not allowed to express pain; they are not allowed to express vulnerability.

‘Boys don’t cry’ and other damaging conventions we are teaching our sons

All parents have the privilege of bringing up the next generation of boys and girls; it is often a difficult and challenging endeavour, but ultimately the most rewarding. Many parents read books or get advice from their parents about how they should bring up their kids. Can some of this advice from generations past, have a negative influence? Are there damaging conventions we are teaching our sons? Many children are taught from a very young age what to think, feel and do in various situations.

‘Boys don’t cry’

Many boys from a very young age are taught to ‘man up’ or are told to stop crying. Some may disagree, but this can be extremely harmful to the child, preventing them from expressing their natural emotional reactions. That in some way by not showing any emotion, you are preserving your masculinity.    

By pushing down or ignoring emotions and embracing the typical male stereotype of a ‘strong male’ could be affecting the mind and body, putting themselves at risk for certain mental, social and health conditions. Boys too have emotions; they too require empathy and encouragement so that they are able to deal with situations positively and constructively. By telling a boy not to cry or show vulnerability, you are negatively affecting his understanding and the need for relationship. This could result in isolation, which could produce anxiety and depression, later on in life.

Sadly, these man rules, even apply with sexual abuse. As a result, males tend to keep their sexual abuse secret and living in denial about what happened. So instead of talking about their trauma, they take it to the grave or delay disclosure, often for years on end. The man rules tell us that guys are not allowed to be abused, and if they are abused, they are not allowed to admit it, and if they do admit it, they can expect to encounter no empathy and  no support.

 

 

Boys need the comfort of their parents (not just their mothers, but also fathers) just as much as girls do. The home should be a safe place where there is emotional freedom and not  a place where a person is shamed for showing their feelings. Bottling up all the emotion can later manifest in other forms of expression, including anger, violence and even substance abuse. Teaching people  at a young age about emotional development and allowing them to express themselves naturally is important.

 

Social media has also been linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression and poor sleep.

The Me Too campaign,men have stepped into the spotlight to say #MeToo applies to them too, as victims of sexual violence, they have sometimes been welcomed and other times less so.

The Time Up campaign

When Oprah Winfrey took the stage at the 75th Golden Globes to accept the Cecil B. DeMille award, she delivered an inspiring, powerful speech about  the importance of speaking out against harassment and assault. 

 

The  Time’s Up’s mission statement includes several answers to the question of “What You Can Do”:

Check out our #KnowYourRights campaign and see what you can do as a survivor of sexual harassment and abuse.

 

Are there other damaging conventions about boys out there?

“Boys will be Boys”

Boys are active and boisterous and in some cases this statement is true, but sometimes the phrase is used to make excuses for the child’s bad behaviour. An example would be:

  • Hitting or pushing another child
  • Being destructive and breaking things

This type of behaviour should not just be ignored.

When boys hit girls, it means they like them

No form of hitting, hurting or even teasing somebody to gain their attention, is acceptable behaviour. In no way, is this how you show somebody that you like them. This is a selfish way to gain attention as they put their own desire for attention before the feelings of the person they are hurting.

You should never ask for help

Boys, who become men and have been brought up with strong masculinity principles, find it a lot more difficult to ask for help. It might just be stubbornness in some that don’t ask for help, but others may see it as a weakness.

Should Boys be in the kitchen?

Gender stereotyping is deeply ingrained into our society. Many still see cooking or cleaning the house as a woman’s job. But with the increase of both parents having to work, household responsibilities should be shared equally. Boys should be taught from a young age that their responsibilities include changing diapers as well as work. Knowing how to cook and to sew a button is not a bad thing, it’s just a skill you can learn to help you be more independent.

Teaching boys at a young age and building up their emotional intelligence, can help the child grow up to lead a happier and balanced life. There have been studies that actually prove that people who are more in touch with their emotions can form stronger and closer bonds with people. This in turn helps them to become emotionally and physically healthier. These skills should be learned at home, but if this is not possible there should be more empowerment programmes and role models available to help them become the men they want to be.

 

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think Margaret Mead”

Please follow, like and share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail Read More

Posted in Articles

Thank you to our patrons

We would just like to thank each and every one that made the festive season such a blessed and wonderful time for our women! Thank you to all the donations that we reserved and for each and every one of you that opened your hands and loving hearts!
We would like to thank Blaauwklipen and all the generous stalls and clients that made this a Christmas our women and Children will never forget!
Thank you to our volunteers for all your love, support, creativity and skills that you come to share with our women in 2018…
There are some pictures to show what we did in the holidays:

 

 

From swimming at a volunteer’s house, to swimming in the river. Decorating the tree and making gifts for the Blaauwklipen Christmas Stall. We also went to the Animal Welfare and played with the animals.

We had a wonderful Christmas with more gifts that we could ever asked for- THANK
YOU… and we had a wonderful Christmas meal! Thank you to everyone made a contribution to a blessed Christmas.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a
meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. -Melody Beattie

Please follow, like and share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail Read More

Posted in Articles, Success Stories

Spotlight on Human Trafficking – Interview with a Survivor

Spotlight on Human Trafficking – Interview with a Survivor

 

*Samatha was a victim of human trafficking when she was a teenager. She was a victim of child abuse. The man that abused her was a close and trusted family friend. Samantha was sold for profit into child sex trafficking. Trafficked by the trusted adult who used sexual, and psychological abuse to maintain control over Samantha, she found it very difficult to seek help. Today, Samantha is a survivor of human trafficking who shares her story of healing and how she copes with the lasting effects of her experience. Today, Samantha is a survivor of child abuse and sex trafficking.

 

*Samantha is her alias name.

 

Q: What has it been like speaking out as a survivor of trafficking?

A: It is hard to talk about being trafficked. I still get very emotional talking about my past. I have watched movies about human trafficking and the girls get shipped to another country. I was traffic in my own country and I did not even know I am traffic. I though as myself as only a prostitute. These days I speak to my therapist and share only parts of my past because it is not easy sharing my experiences.

Q: Will you tell us a little bit about your relationship with the man who trafficked you and why it was so hard to break free?

A: The man who trafficked me was like a father figure to me. He was a family friend and was always very kind. He was easy to talk to and I confided in him. I shared with him all my pain and fears and he listened to me and took care of me. I was diagnosed with mental illness and he would take me to appointments at the hospital.

My family was financially benefiting from me working as a sex worker and I felt obligated to keep working. I had one lady friend from church. I was allowed to attend church on Sundays. One Sunday I was crying the whole time and I shared with her that I am working as a sex worker. I was very afraid to talk to her because I knew if I share this to her, my family will not get their money. This is exactly why it was so hard to break free.

human trafficking survivor Safe House Stellenbosch

Q: Will you share with us some of the emotional and physical effects you’ve experienced as a result of your trauma?

A: I was a victim of child abuse. I live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); bipolar, major depression and borderline personality disorder. All of these are a direct result of the trauma I experienced.

Q: After you first escaped, how did you cope?

A: I am enslaved by the post-traumatic effects of my trauma. I did not cope well. I feel a tremendous amount of shame and guilt. I had a lot of sexual urges the first few weeks when I was in the place of safety. I was so used to having a lot of sex that I was craving it. Thankfully, over time and through my work in therapy, I recovered from those overwhelming form of urges.

Q: Will you tell us about your path toward recovery and what’s helped you?

A: My path forward started off very rocky. It took a life-changing turn after entering therapy with a therapist.  Also, meeting other survivors of abuse has been very helpful. The new friendships and support has helped me immensely on my path toward healing.

Q: After someone hears you speak, what do you hope they learn?

A: I want them to know that there is help to overcome and grow past their trauma. I want them to learn that they have a lot of value and self-worth. You might feel worthless to one person, but you are priceless to another.

 

Safe House Stellenbosch is a Not for Profit place of safety for women and their children who escape domestic violence. We would benefit greatly from any contribution you could make. Make a donation. Volunteer.

Please follow, like and share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail Read More

Posted in Articles

Safe House Christmas Wish List

Safe House Christmas Wish List

We Need Your Help: Safe House Christmas Wish List

 

Womens’ shelters, like SafeHouse play an important and vital role in our society. Helping women and children to escape from abuse and domestic violence and providing a safe place for them. A place where they can take refuge and receive the protection and support they need.

 

We are a charitable organization and in order to meet their needs we rely on the general public to provide financial donations. This is not the only way you can help out, as we need many supplies and goods to help the women and children under our care.

 

The Christmas season is also upon us, and it should be a time of fun and cheer, but for many of these families who come to us, are under a lot of stress. Many of the children go without gifts and will not experience the festive season as it should be. We would like to make a difference at Christmas for these women and children. To share the love and Christmas cheer and to bring a smile to their faces. You can help us achieve this!

Shelter Christmas Needs List

  • Christmas tree
  • Christmas decorations
  • Wrapping paper
  • Toys such as balls, children books, colouring books, kokie pens and backpacks
  • Dolls
  • Dresses size small to medium

Baby Needs

  • Nappies size 4 and up
  • Baby shampoo
  • Baby soap
  • Baby laundry soap
  • Baby wipes
  • Bum cream

 

Women Clothing

  • Underwear small to medium
  • Pyjamas
  • Shoes size 1 – 6

Women supplies

  • Shampoo/ Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Soap
  • Hair products (gel, hairspray, etc.)
  • Ethnic hair products (relaxers, moisturizers, etc.)
  • Hair brushes
  • Sanitary pads
  • Towels

Children clothing

  • Underwear sizes small

Linens

  • Towels

 

Food donation and kitchen Products

  • Any kind of red meat for Christmas meal
  • Chicken for Christmas meal
  • Eggs
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Tea towels
  • Dish cloths
  • Sponges

Small Appliances

  • Microwave
  • Brooms
  • Mops

 

Cleaning Supplies (kitchen/bathroom)

  • Disinfectant
  • Dishwasher soap
  • All-purpose cleaners
  • Laundry soap
  • Bleach
  • Toilet bowl cleaners
  • Rubber gloves

 

Food Products

  • Canned Tuna
  • Pilchards
  • Canned fruit (all varieties)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cereals – oats (all varieties)
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Spices (all varieties)
  • Baby food (Cereal & Jars – all ages)

Educational Supplies

  • Prit
  • Scissors
  • Pens
  • Sellotape
  • Books
  • Sharpeners
  • Pencils

Craft Supplies

  • Fabric paint
  •   Paint brushes
  •   Glue
  •   Needles and pins
  •   Embroidery thread
  •   Embroidery ring

 

Any contribution that you can make, would be most welcome.

 

Contact: skills.safehouse@gmail.com

 

Please follow, like and share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail Read More

Posted in Articles, Success Stories

What does a social worker do?

What does a social worker do?

Becoming a social worker means that you have a passion for people and wanting to help them. Social workers are there to make a difference in the lives of individuals, families and entire communities.

The role of a social worker is to assist and protect those in need and affected by a crises. They may get involved in cases that have:

  • Any form of abuse: children, women, the elderly
  • All cases of rape
  • Communities, who lack basic medical care, access to a clean water supply and proper schooling. Other Social workers assess needs on a larger scale. They may plan and administer programs and projects in the communities
  • Community social workers help communities This social worker in the community work directly with individuals and the family system as a howl. By conducting a needs assessments and making referrals to resources in the community.

That is where the Safe House comes in, by getting referrals from the community, extended programs, schools act, the Social Worker at the Safe House looks at the criteria of the safe house and if the client fits the criteria.

The social worker at the Safe House then helps to assist with, counselling on individual level, counselling and networking with family members and other interested parties when necessary. Counsel abused women from the community who are not ready to enter the Safe House. Group work in the day and/or evenings for women in the house.

Social workers can provide services in general to help people cope with different problems that occur in everyday circumstances. Then you get social workers with a special skill set and qualification that can also help to diagnose and treat various mental issues that might occur. The job does require that you live in the area or community you are helping or you should be able to travel to the community on a daily basis.

 Social workers safe house stellenbosch

There are many career paths to choose for a social worker

  • Social workers that focus on children, family and schools
  • Medical social workers: dealing with individuals and families with health issues.
  • Substance abuse and mental health
  • Correctional services
  • Therapeutic social workers.
  • Industrial social workers, working more on a business level, with fabrics, companies, educations and counseling in the work place.
  • Statuary social workers- working with foster care, the family as a howl, courts act.

 

To help the community, certain techniques and programmes can be implemented. These techniques can help build the community and help them to develop their own potential and abilities.

 

Techniques such as:

  • Helping the community with development programmes
  • By starting crisis intervention plans
  • Implementing youth programmes
  • Offering counselling and support for abused women through shelter programmes

 

By being a Social Worker in a Safe House environment, you have to do the following;

  • Individual, family and group work counselling
  • The administration of reports, statistics, clients documents, Safe House documents act.
  • To help monitor medical appointments, emergencies and helping to monitor pregnant girls in labor.
  • Statistics and report writing to Social Development
  • Help to plan programs, community projects act.
  • Help to assist women with protection orders and other legal issues, when necessary.
  • To see that all residents needs are met and rights are respected
  • To see that all residents CV’s are updated, help to look for trainings and education opportunity’s as well as job opportunities.
  • Networking with, other projects, organizations in the area.

Carla Senekal, our Safe House Social worker.

Challenges faced by a social worker

Being in this line of work is not easy and there are many difficulties that a social worker will face. There are many “fires” that need to be extinguished. Social workers are so busy putting out fires that they can’t really focus on the root of the problem.

 

  • They have to deal with the crises first hand
  • It is a high stress job that can affect health
  • Social workers have to deal with a range of different communities; this can lead to dealing with language barriers, violence and even in some cases death threats.
  • It can be difficult to sometimes provide services due to limited resources, limited finances and facilities in which to do their work.

 

There may be trials and challenges but the benefits and results outweigh any of the difficulties that may occur. It is all about making a difference in somebody’s life

You can read an interview with our resident social worker, Carla, here.

How does confidentiality work?

In the Safe House we take confidentiality seriously. We consider Confidentiality is the most important for the therapeutic relationship with the client. It helps the client understand that everything she will say will not be exposed.  Through the sharing of information, that the client feels safe, and the social worker can help the client address an issue, concern, or problem the client may be experiencing. As a Social Worker in the Safe House, confidentiality and the explanation around it, is handled in the very first session with our clients. The Social Worker does not only talk about confidentiality verbally, but signs off on it with a legally binding contract.

 

In the Safe House we address three main confidential points

  • The Social Worker X and Client Y will agree that everything they share and discuss during counselling will stay confidential.
  • That Social Worker X will not disclose anything personal that Client Y trusts her with, except if what the client reveals could possibly be harmful to herself or someone else, or, if sharing what the client has revealed with a professional will help me help the client to the best of my ability.
  • Client Y will not disclose anything personal that Social Worker X trusts her with, except if Client Y feel it will negatively affect others or herself, and only then will she disclose it to a staff member or professional.

 

Skills needed to be a social worker

Being a social worker is a demanding job and requires certain emotional and professional skills. A social worker, even after graduating will always be learning new things and skills. You are never too old to learn new skills, and with the help of a Supervisor, some that guides you in the way forward, training and a lot of research and reading your Children’s Act and Bill of Rights, you will have a guideline, to tackle situations in the right and ethical way.

 

Here are a few qualities that you should have to be a good social worker:

 

  • You must be a good listener, a lot of the time as a social worker you need to listen to people.
  • Have a level of emotional intelligence; this includes empathy and sensitivity towards other people and their circumstances.
  • A certain amount of organizational skills are required
  • Being tolerant, dealing with different cultures and people. Having respect for everybody.
  • Able to communicate effectively
  • You have to be able to set boundaries and create a healthy work and life balance

 

 

Social workers: ‘We are not in it for the income; we are in it for the outcome’

– Social Justice Solutions

 

 

Please follow, like and share:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail Read More