‘Blow the whistle’ to save your life

2013-11-25 00:00

THE brutal gang rape and murder of 17-year-old Anene Booysen together with the frightening statistic that one in every three women will be raped was the driving force in starting the Blow the Whistle campaign.

Started by Sureshnie Rider of 5FM and Legacy Lifestyle, the campaign aims to fight against violence against women and children by spreading awareness of this issue.

One of the most important parts of the campaign is the selling of whistles that can be used as a call for help when you feel threatened. The idea of the whistle came to Rider during a discussion around Booysen. She was found alive by a security gaurd, but later died in hospital.

“Knowing that she lay alone in the dark for hours, frightened and in unimaginable pain, made us all see things differently. We wondered if her life could have been saved if she had a whistle to blow,” said Rider.

Legacy Lifestyle chairperson Bart Dorrestein added: “We can’t just sit back and place the entire responsibility on the government’s shoulders. We have a responsibility to add our own strengths to the fight against violent crime and especially the epidemic of rape and abuse against women.”

The proceeds of the whistle sales will be donated to the DNA Project, an organisation that fights crime through DNA profiling. The proceeds will focus on the rape crisis.

Blow the Whistle have taken their added safety tools to the next level by introducing a mobi app that comes with a panic button.

“We as a community are rocked by stories of women and children who have been robbed, assaulted, raped or murdered on their way home from school, work, or the shops. We understand that it is unreasonable to try and prevent women from being alone physically — so we’re doing it through technology,” said Dorrestein.

The app also allows four guardians nominated by the user to watch over them when they are alone.

The app makes use of a “Journey Dashboard”, which sends out the user’s destination and estimated arrival time to their guardians. If anything goes wrong, the guardian is sent the user’s co-ordinates.

The app is available for free on www.whistle.co.za and can be used on iOS and Android.

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) launched the 16 Days of Activism on No Violence Against Women and Children yesterday.

Amongst its activities, the CGE will present findings of the Victims Charter report of 2013. The report was a national policy intervention and response (by government stakeholders), placing emphasis on improving the quality of services to victims of sexual assault, with particular emphasis on avoiding secondary victimisation.

The CGE will be partnering with Nicro (National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders) to facilitate separate conversations with victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and convicted GBV offenders.

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