On average, every half an hour the rape of a child is reported in South Africa. Even though the numbers have officially dropped drastically over the past 15 years, the numbers are still frightening, and, according to experts, represent only a fraction in comparison to the unreported cases. One explanation for the high numbers of child and infant rapes may well be the detrimental “Virgin cleansing myth”, a widely spread belief that sex with a virgin will cure HIV/AIDS.
The numbers of rape and general violence against females are significant. Though official figures show a decrease, this is probably not true as women are no longer coming forward in fear of even more unpleasant consequences. Only one in nine rapes are reported according to experts, and only 14% of reported rapes are convicted. In a study published in 2015 it was stated that by the time youngsters are between 15 and 17, one in five will have been the victim of sexual violence. A broader study even suggests that, taking adults into the account, more than 40% of South African women will have been raped at least once in their lifetime.
The key to eliminating sexual violence and rape on a large scale is to provide an environment for victims to come together in safety, to recuperate and develop grass roots projects and a space to be heard. PLeace GRACE Africa is looking to have its pilot location in the Johannesburg area. Planned is a center, the PLeace GRACE Africa Multi-Gen Haven, in which rape victims can seek shelter, education, medical care and psychological help.
With the support of the “mentoring grand-parents” of in the Multi-Gen-Havens of the GRACE Project, abused children and women, along with their respective mother or child, can find the safety and the space to learn, teach, get an education and heal.
Furthering the project will be tackling another big problem with a different type of traumatized babies: Every year, thousands of different wild animal babies are orphaned due to poaching, and many stray pets need to be saved from euthanizing. Decades of research have shown time and again that the companionship and caring for animals is one of the most powerful healing therapies.
In summary, PLeace GRACE Africa’s main aim is to give unfortunate souls a positive, worthy lifestyle and future.