Rape: Foord shares dream of building refuges for survivors

2009-03-08 00:00

Local women, young and old alike, gathered early yesterday morning in Pietermaritzburg to speak out against sexual violence in support of rape survivor Jessica Foord, whose alleged attackers are standing trial.

Organised by third-year Varsity College hospitality management students, the Jessica Foord Inspirational Breakfast was a small gathering.

The message that resounded with every speaker was one of power and strength, but more importantly, solidarity.

Foord, who recounted her brutal gang-rape to the gathering, said she remembers the incident vividly, but her memories are detached, as if her mind and body were not synchronised during the attack. “It was like my body was not my own. They told me to do things, but I couldn’t move.”

The 22-year-old said she feels more and more able to deal with the pain she experienced as a result of the rape by talking about it. “When I talk about it, it’s like that person experiences the pain with me. The more people I speak to about it, the more pain I shed, the easier it is to deal with,” she said.

Foord trod on a R10 note to show that some things can never lose their value no matter how badly they have been abused.

“I am still worth something,” she said. “I’m worth more, in fact … I am in a position to help others who have gone through similar experiences.”

She added that she is trying to establish Jes Foord Powar (Protect Our Women Against Rape) centres, which are refuges for survivors of any form of abuse. particularly rape, directly after the incident has occurred.

Foord said that after her rape, the processes of dealing with the authorities and medical services added to the trauma and stress of the rape.

With these centres, which will each cost around R3,5 million, Foord hopes to make things easier for other rape survivors.

Members of the public are urged to wear lime green tomorrow in aid of “Colour the Nation, Support Jes Foord and Others Campaign”.

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