Beauty with a purpose

2019-11-12 06:00
Helen Jacobs welcomed the challenge by Sasha-Lee Olivier, saying there were many people in the community who suffered in silence. She said the Beauty with a Purpose campaign would make it easier for victims to seek help.                              PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Helen Jacobs welcomed the challenge by Sasha-Lee Olivier, saying there were many people in the community who suffered in silence. She said the Beauty with a Purpose campaign would make it easier for victims to seek help. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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South Africa’s Miss World Sasha-Lee Olivier has teamed up with Kensington-based Alexander Institute for Self-Development to empower survivors of sexual abuse.

Olivier was this year’s runner-up in the Miss South Africa competition and will be competing in Miss World in London on Saturday 14 December.

In preparation for the contest, Olivier has launched the Beauty with a Purpose campaign, which she plans to use to help various organisations that deal with sexual abuse nationally.

She hopes to bring the title home and to work with the Miss World foundation to carry the programme forward.

As a start to the campaign, Olivier donated 100 comfort packs under her slogan #ItsnotYourFault to the institute at an event held at the Kensington Library on Wednesday 6 October.

The event was attended by community leaders, gender-based activists, police, residents and a few learners.

The packs aim to empower sexual assault survivors in the community.

They contain a teddy bear – which, Olivier said, was to give a sense of comfort – underwear to restore dignity and basic hygiene products to encourage cleanliness and to give them hope that they are cared for.

She said by so doing, survivors would be reminded it was not their fault that they had been taken advantage of.

Olivier said the institute shared the same vision as her: supporting and empowering survivors.

She challenged the community of Kensington to unite and to raise 10 000 comfort packs to ensure victims and survivors did not feel the pain of not having the basics, especially when in the process of seeking justice.

A survivor of sexual abuse herself, Olivier said the worst thing one could go through was the lack of support and being failed by the justice system.

Olivier said support and talks on the topic should begin at home and that children should be made aware that perpetrators were not always strangers. They could be family members as well.

Kevin Alexander was the first to accept the challenge.

He was seconded by various community representatives.

These included the Kensington community policing forum (CPF); Lenina Rasool, a gender-based violence activist; social workers working at local school, Helen Jacobs, the councillor for ward 56; and religious leaders.

Alexander recently launched a domestic violence abuse programme and said he was shocked to discover that there were so many women with broken hearts who longed for justice. He said, working together, the community would win the fight against gender-based violence.

Erika Isaacs, the CPF chair, opened up about the challenges faced by youth. Isaacs shared a story about her daughter’s harassment due to her sexuality.

As an early development educator, she also spoke about her experience when dealing with children affected by different sorts of abuse at home. Isaacs said through collaborations like this, abuse stereotypes could be eradicated from society.

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