An example of the adult rape comfort bag and the kiddi pack.
Durban-based law firm. Schwenn Inc, is urging the community to support the Jes Foord Foundation’s handbag project during the month of April.
The project relies on the support of the community to donate new or used handbags containing items that can assist a rape victim during the initial reporting process at the police station, such as a facecloth, soap and new underwear.
“Typically any item of clothing with forensic evidence on it must be taken from the rape victim, at a time when she or he already feels so vulnerable. The survivor must then undergo a physical examination before being allowed to shower,” explained Trish Gillespie from the Jes Foord Foundation.
She added that a handbag with ‘comforting’ items in it can go a long way in helping the victim feel a little better.
“The most important item in the bag however, is a letter with a few words of encouragement to restore some hope to the survivor during this traumatic time. Receiving this comfort bag is the start of their journey from victim to survivor,” she added.
Charmaine Schwenn, director of Schwenn Inc, is an avid supporter of the Jes Foord Foundation and has been a committed member on their board for the past five years.
“It is a privilege to support such an amazing organisation and the wonderful work they do in assisting rape survivors across the country,” she said.
Jessica Schwenn (candidate attorney) and Jes Foord appeal to the community to support the Jes Foord Foundation handbag project.
Each month, the Jes Foord Foundation aims to pack 400 rape comfort bags (160 handbags and 240 kiddi packs) to over twenty beneficiaries country-wide who have come to so greatly depend on these bags.
Rape comfort bags are delivered to the following beneficiaries: Thuthuzela Centres, Childline facilities and to the national court children’s rooms.
“Sadly our kiddi Packs make up 60 percent of our total monthly quota and are currently in high demand,” Gillespie added.
How you can help:
Items needed to make up an adult rape comfort bag:
*Handbag *Panties/ underpants (small, medium or large) *Soap and a clean new facecloth *Sanitary pads *Small body lotion *Toothpaste and toothbrush *Small shampoo *Deodorant *Small pack of tissues *A note with words of care and encouragement
Items needed to make up a kiddi pack for children under the age of 12:
*Drawstring bag (minimum size 33cm x 43 cm) or small backpack *Panties/ underpants (to replace soiled underwear) *Small pack of tissues *Soap and a clean, new facecloth *Sanitary pad (for vaginal and anal bleeding) *Notebook and ball point pen (used for art therapy to assist in forensic evidence gathering) *Colouring pencils or crayons & a 24-page colouring book *Teddy or small soft toy (for the child to keep and provide comfort for)
Schwenn Inc will be the main drop-off point for Durban North and surrounding areas for the month of April, situate at 13 Ennisdale Drive, Durban North.
You can also drop off donations at any of the other designated collection areas listed on the Jes Foord Foundation website: www.jff.org.za
“The statistics are overwhelming but together we can touch many lives by doing something as small as packing a bag and writing a note telling someone that they are valued and that there is life after rape,” concluded Schwenn.