Brave Foord is ‘moving on to another chapter’

2009-03-20 00:00

FOR rape survivor Jessica Foord, her horrific ordeal was just a chapter in the book she calls life.

Now that the five men who changed her life forever are safely behind bars, this brave young woman wants to continue with life and use her experience to help other women overcome rape and sexual abuse.

Foord and her father Tim were attacked and robbed at the Polo Pony dam in February last year. The men tied her father to a tree and brutally raped her.

Earlier this week, the Durban High Court handed down life sentences to the three rapists.

Foord said that although the imprisonment of her attackers is still only sinking in, she is already making plans for the future, which she thinks are going to make a difference in the lives of others.

“I think of my life as a book. Now that this chapter is over, I’m moving on to another chapter. When you read a book, you don’t go back to the last chapter. It’s the same with my experience. I’m going forward now,” she said.

She said that women must understand that there is life after such an ordeal.

Setting up the Protect Our Women against Rape (Powar) centre is Foord’s main priority. She hopes that the centre will be a beacon of hope for rape victims. She said that far too many women are too ashamed to report their rapes.

“I want women to feel that there is a safe place they can go for help. At police stations, you are only a case number. At the centre, there will be someone to hold your hand while you go through the process of reporting your rape,” she said.

She said that rape survivors would be examined by a district surgeon, who will collect evidence and give all the relevant medication, such as the morning after pill, ARVs and STD preventative medication.

“Once this, the most difficult part of the process, is completed, the survivors will be given the opportunity to shower or bath, depending on their preference,” she said.

She said that the centre will be a place of hope, love and support for abused women. Foord, who is now a well-known motivational speaker, said she has no regrets about going public about her rape. “The way I see it, if I am able to change one person’s life, then my speaking out would be worth it,” she said.

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