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Thu
17
Feb '11

Blog 22 – Buddy and Me – Project 3 (14th and 15th Feb 2011)

Posted by Julia

Categories: Buddy and Me

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The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

So after bidding Ronnie and his team of merry-men at ‘Ronnie’s Sex Shop’, which is in the middle of nowhere in the Klein Karoo, farewell, ‘Buddy and Me’ continued on our merry way through Barrydale where we took a left turn which took us through the amazingly scenic Tradouws Pass to Suurbraak, Swellendam and once on the N2 highway took a left to Bredasdorp and on through Napier and Stanford and finally ended up in Gansbaai, which all involved an extremely hot drive through some really barren countryside, but first let me go back a few, in fact a lot of steps.

When I had passed through the small village/town of Calitzdorp on project 2, on my way to Ronnie’s place, which is about 60 kilometres out of Oudtshoorn, I had stopped off at a café to get a cool drink and had bumped into a group of the local community which happened to be coloured ladies, and so on passing the same café I had to stop and hoped I would bump into the same group again, but alas it was not to be, but this is what happened on that occasion, and I just felt I had to share this once again:

9th March 2010 – “When I entered the small town of Calitzdorp, I stopped to get a cold drink at a café and while waiting to pay at the counter, a group of 6 coloured ladies approached me and asked, in a heavily accented ‘Cape Coloured’ accent, if I was the person driving that crazy little car. When I confirmed I was one lady said, (and you really need to hear the accent to make it sound as funny as I found it) “You know, these blary men, they can’t keep their blarey hands off the young girls and children and they can’t keep their blarey dingis in their pants, I think we need to start chopping the blarey things off”.

All the other ladies starting talking at the same time and soon I was having comments and opinions on what should be done to a savage, as they also referred to them, thrown at me from all sides. Hell if the government guys think the death penalty for a child rapist is not acceptable they should hear what these ladies believe should be done to them, I’m sure a convicted rapist would gladly accept being executed by way of hanging rather than face the wrath of these ladies.”

As I said, unfortunately I did not get to meet up with the same group of ladies again and so my hot journey through kilometre after kilometre of road, mountains and bush continued. A short way out of Suurbraak I came across a small ‘monument stone’ and on stopping discovered the following:

Amazing that from 1730 till 1791 people from the ‘Dutch East India Company’ actually lived in this remote part of the woods and ran a trading post.

 

Anyway let me get back to where I left off on my last blog. I arrived in Gansbaai and headed for the magic caravan/camping park which is situated right on the waters edge near the entrance to the harbour. It was still mind boggling hot and so by the time I had set up camp I was sopping wet from sweating.

Soon after setting up camp, a car pulled up on the campsite in-front of me and a lady and a young girl, who I estimated to be around 12 years of age, got out and started setting up camp. Now when I say “camp”, this was a tiny little thing that probably a kid of around 6 years of age would only have been able to lay flat in. I noticed that they did not have any other camping equipment and so offered them my one spare camping chair. I then discovered that they were a mother and daughter team, Sonja Thiele, being the mother and Angelina, being the daughter who originate from Germany and who have been travelling all over the world together on ‘their’ mission/crusade.

Their ‘mission/crusade’ involves travelling around the world visiting schools etc, wherever children can be found, educating and teaching them about the different cultures to be found around the world. I think the easiest is for me to give you Sonja’s website and email address and you can see for yourself what her and Angelina are involved with: Website: www.kidsdiscovertheworld.com Email: info@kidsdiscovertheworld.co

Tuesday morning dawned bleak and very misty, and even at 8:30am I couldn’t see the sea which was a mere 30 metres away from my camp, but by the time I had had breakfast, which comprised of left over lamb stew from the previous night, boiled eggs and salty cracks, sounds yummy hey, the weather had cleared and so I set off for the local police station.

Now before continuing, I must tell you that I really did not expect any great shakes from my visit to this police station, it being in a small coastal town etc, with no FCS unit, and my expectations being based on the fact that my experience with so many visits to large police stations I had visited all around South Africa have proved to be so disappointing, and these included visits to stations at which FCS units have been ‘established’, but oh boy was I in for a major shock!

On entering the police station’s charge office, which by the way is extremely clean and neat, a plus already, and on asking to speak to someone who deals with child rape cases, I was immediately pointed in the direction of Constable Visser, and from that minute my spirits flew skywards.

Immediately on hearing who I was and what I am doing and that I wanted to know what support structures are available for child rape victims in Gansbaai, she smiled and said “Come with me, I will show you”. And from the very first minute I knew I was in for a treat and that this lady was obviously very proud of whatever it was she was going to show me, and proud she can well be!

Firstly let me tell you that the police in Gansbaai do not have an FCS unit, (This being the SAPS unit responsible for the investigation of child rape cases as well as cases of domestic violence and adult rape), the main FCS unit is based in Caledon (about 120 kilometres away) and there is a ‘support’ unit in Hermanus which is about 45 kilometres away. But this is the first time I have ever seen a ‘satellite’ station, as in a ‘cluster station’ which has a ‘victim support system’ like this station has. The only other two police stations I have ever seen support centres close to this is in Uitenhage and Port Alfred, and so to have found three police stations with such dedication and self motivation in the whole of South Africa is incredible.

To cap it all, the area the Caledon FCS unit has to cover is an area which covers a mind boggling 240 kilometre radius, and includes the police stations of:

  • Caledon
  • Hermanus
  • Stanford
  • Kleinmond
  • Napier
  • Bradasdorp
  • Struisbaai

According to Constable Visser, all these police stations have their own ‘victim support centres’, although she did confirm that not all of them are up to the same standard as the one in Gansbaai is.

The police in Gansbaai are backed-up by private citizens who are trained counsellors and do counselling support for rape victims out of the goodness of their hearts and do not get paid a single cent for their services, my oath what a dedicated bunch these Gansbaaians are, (is there such a word – if not I just made it up). To cap it all, Constable Visser does the initial statement taking and is trained for this function, and can you believe this, her mother is one of the volunteer counsellors and her dad is also very involved in the functioning of the centre, a whole dedicated family dedicating their lives to ensuring that victims of rape and domestic violence get the best possible support the town of Gansbaai can provide, absolutely incredible. Gansbaai SAPS – Constable Visser – you are hereby presented with the ‘Buddy and Me’ medal for the best support structure for child rape victims as well as victims of domestic violence Buddy and I have seen to date. Keep up the good work.

 

Constable Visser proudly showing me the ‘packs’ which are given to rape victims.

The comfortable and in-particular, child friendly, facilities to accommodate victims.

This is where Constable Visser takes the initial statement to open the case, just check out the friendly and comfortable surroundings.

And this is the outside of the facility.

Well, all I can say is that my visit to the Gansbaai police station was an experience of note, and after having visited so many disappointing police stations where it is blatantly clear that the members of the SAPS are not in the least interested in providing support facilities of any kind to victims of child rape and domestic violence, my visit to this incredible station was like a breath of fresh air.

But before I finish this magic storey, Constable Visser told me something which proves my theory about the implementation of properly established and professionally run Thuthuzela Care Centre being the roots of stopping child rape, and that is that since the inception of the ‘Gansbaai Victim Support Centre’ they have experienced a major increase in the reporting of rape cases in the area. I rest my case!

Well that’s all for now, my next visit is to Hermanus where ‘Buddy and Me’ will be spending the next 5 nights, which includes the first nights accommodation at the luxury ‘Mosselberg – On Grotto Beach Hotel’ courtesy of Protea Hotels and the remaining 4 nights, which includes the weekend, camping, and so who knows maybe I will get some time to catch that elusive fish I have been hunting for, for so long.

So until next I get the opportunity to write, keep well, stay safe, keep your feet on the ground but reach really high for the sky, and naturally – Keep all children safe!!!

Caring regards from

‘Buddy (The beach Buggy)

And

Me’ (Steve Heath)

Send all comments and opinions to; steve@buddyandme.co.za

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