Elsa joined the Safe House team in October last year. Since then, her contagious passion for what she does has touched each and every person at Safe House – residents, staff and volunteers alike.
In her own words, Elsa admits that she lives her work and is passionate about changing people and their reality.
What has been the biggest highlight working for Safe House so far?
Seeing the therapy working in that many of the ladies now have the ability to self contain and manage their emotions. This is a vital skill when they have to go back into the real world.
What do you hope to accomplish within the next 6 months?
More public funding for a longer programmes and effective prevention programmes – educating the children of the victims of domestic violence so that they are not trapped in this cycle of abuse.
What are the challenges Safe House (besides a big corporate sponsor)?
The need of a secondary service when it becomes apparent that sending the women back to their own community is not sustainable.
Why do you think domestic violence is so rife in South Africa?
We are ignoring the factors that is creating the reality of domestic violence. We are ignoring addiction. Ignoring the real services these women need. While a 3 month program at Safe House, to deal with the domestic violence factor, is necessary, often the women come with for extensive needs which need to be addressed. Substance dependency, parenting skills, and job training are things that also need to be dealt with in order to equip the victims to be self-sufficient when they leave Safe House.
Random fact about Elsa:
She loves anything and everything to do with Ingrid Jonker.
What your favourite book?
I think every therapist should read Thula by Annelie Botes. They she depicts the most vile abuse is done in a way that will make anyone understand how it feels to be in that situation.
Elsa’s words to live by: “If it has to be, it needs to start with me.”