Standing up for victims

2017-10-10 06:00
Children wore T­shirts with photos of slain Stacha Arends and danced to songs of empowerment at a court hearing last week.

Children wore T­shirts with photos of slain Stacha Arends and danced to songs of empowerment at a court hearing last week. (SAMANTHA LEE)

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It was a busy week in court for a local organisation’s members who have made it their duty to stand up and support violated, abused and murdered women and ­children.

As the man accused of Stacha Arends’s murder appeared in court, the community of Tafelsig came out to say: “Enough is enough.”

Children of Matroosberg Street marched with banners and posters to the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, calling for justice for Stacha.

What started as a small group quickly turned into close to 100 people who picketed outside the court from 08:30 to noon during the hearing.

Members of the Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Forum (MPCF) have helped and supported the family since the organisation’s inception earlier this year.

They have made it their goal to continue supporting families at court.

“This case is especially dear to us because it was where all of this started,” says MPCF chairperson Joanie Fredericks.

They have pledged to be at every hearing and stand by victims of abuse to ensure such crimes do not go unnoticed.

They have since drawn up a court calendar that has information like the victim’s age, area and court appearance date on it.

The organisation was started as a result of Stacha’s murder in May.

It has since been represented at court to oppose bail in all cases related to women and child abuse, rape and murders brought to the members’ attention (“Forum to become ‘recognised voice’ for crimes against kids”, People’s Post, 18 April).

“It is really sad that we have had to resort to drawing up a court calender list,” says Fredericks.

The organisation was started to support victims not only in Mitchell’s Plain but all over the province, where the need arose, Fredericks told People’s Post during an earlier interview.

The organisation’s members also help search for missing people. They currently have a 99% success rate of finding children alive, says Fredericks.

They have called on residents to support their plight by donating to their court case fund so that the organisation can support victims in other areas as well.

“Have you ever accompanied a victim of rape into a court building filled with aggressive friends and family members of her accused rapist? Do you know how much courage it takes from her to step into the hallway and sit alongside these people while being taunted and verbally abused?” Fredericks wrote in a social media post.

Their goal is to mobilise residents to support families in court during hearings.

She adds that rape cases are often withdrawn as a result of intimidation and threats.

They are not only calling on residents to support families at court but also assist them to do so.

“We have a calendar of cases we need to support at court, stretching until the end of the year. Many of these cases are in the Cape High Court,” she says.

“Please help us be there for each and every victim of rape and family of murdered victims who so desperately need us.”

For more information call Joanie Fredericks on 076 921 6767 or join the Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Forum page on Facebook.

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