Creating abuse awareness

2017-06-20 06:00

THE Julie Muir Vivier Anti-Abuse and Empowerment Trust is a South African survivor-led, human rights NPO that works with victims and survivors of abuse.

The organisation creates awareness around the types of abuse and empowers people to understand the dynamics of an abusive relationship, allowing an informed choice to address the situation they face.

Vivier says going through any form of abuse is heart wrenching, painful, destructive and often unbearable, particularly when it comes from those you love and are supposed to provide unconditional love in return.

“Times often feel hopeless and never-ending with no form of escape. Many of us understand these feelings of despair and many have been there as well – sometimes in more than one form or stage of life.

“The Trust aims to provide awareness to victims of knowledge and support. Often the turning point in regaining is knowledge, knowing what abuse is, knowledge of personality types, knowledge of rights, knowledge of support services and knowledge that you are not alone,” she says.

Driven by the motto, “knowledge and awareness equates to personal power”, Vivier believes that knowledge provides reasoning and allows for the freedom of choice to stay or to go.

“It may be a slow, carefully-crafted escape plan, with rehabilitation of self and financial steps to be taken forward.

“We do not say it will be an easy road forward, in fact there will be times you want to return – we have all done it. But there comes a point when enough is just more than enough and it is time to have a safe, peaceful harmonious life.”

She agrees it will be tough financially or emotionally or physically, but the ultimate sense of peace and freedom and safety does not carry a price tag. “The Trust, its volunteers, partners and members are committed to assisting all victims along their journey with the utmost confidentiality. Victim safety and confidentiality is a priority among us and we guarantee anonymity.

“We do, however, have survivors who are incredibly strong and respected and who are willing to share their stories. The survivor voice is one of the most effective methods of assisting victims, yet sorely lacking across the world. In Africa, only 0.3% of survivors will speak out publicly.

“We aim to share information, create hope, generate public awareness and provide an overall support basis for victims.”

For more information, on the Trust or to find out about meetings contact, juliemuirvivier@gmail.com or 071 316 9783. - Kalisha Naicker..

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