3 December 2022
‘Modimolle Monster’ survivor Ina Bonnette does not know how she would have managed to get though her horrific ordeal if she did not have the support of the counsellors at the Sinoville Crisis Centre, a victim empowerment centre rendering free 24/7 counselling services for victims.
“Irrespective of what happened to you, it is a nightmare. You are afraid when you have to report the case to the police, go to the doctor to be examined and later face your attackers in a courtroom. You already feel so humiliated, ashamed and exposed to the world.
“You also consistently have relatives, friends and even random strangers who tells you that you deserved what happened to you. Giving you their unwanted opinion, some of them even being very hostile. That is why you need the help of a counsellor, to keep you focussed and strong,” says Bonnette.
It has been ten years since Bonnette’s ex-husband, Johan Kotze, violently attacked her using pliers to pinch her and pushed nails deep into her breasts. He shot her son, Conrad, and watched while his three accomplices raped and tortured her.
Colleen Strauss, Chief Executive Officer of the Sinoville Crisis Centre, and Dr Pixie du Toit, Founder of the centre, assisted Bonnette through her hellish ordeal.
The centre, a non-profit organisation, was established decades before the South African Police Service (SAPS) implemented a Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP), taking hands with non-profit organisations (NPO’s) to provide a more victim friendly service to victims of gender-based violence (#GBV) and other crime.
The aim of the VEP is to support victims and survivors of crime and violence (including Gender-Based Violence) as well as their families, to deal with the impact of the incident, which he/she has experienced.
Although all police stations nationwide must have a GBV desk as part of the programme to assist victims, not every police station has a multidisciplinary support centre.
Bonnette and Nicoleen Swart, MISA’s Face of #GBV, says it is important to report the case at a police station with a multidisciplinary centre on the premises.
“The majority of #GBV victims are isolated from their friends and family. They don’t have anywhere to go to. The investigating officers try their utmost best to assist with advice, but they are not trained counsellors.
“Non-profit organisations seek a network of victim friendly service providers. This is to prevent the victims from suffering secondary trauma because they feel the justice system is failing them,” says Strauss.
According to Swart, she visited the Centre only once, but only had a session with a counsellor and did not realise how they could have assisted her.
“If I knew then what I know now, I would recommend that a victim seek help from a NPO before they start the process,” says Swart.
#MISACARES #MISAONTHEMOVE #MISAFAMILY #GBV #SpeakUp #NicoleenSwart #SCC