The shelter, which is situated in Seshego, Polokwane, was launched in April 2015 and is currently helping 190 women in different ways. For three of the women, Thy Rest has become their home.
“We are currently accommodating three women who are victims of domestic abuse and at the moment we are also supporting 188 abused women who are registered on our database,” said the shelter manager, Nobesuthu Javu.
The shelter was founded to assist victims and survivors of various forms of abuse with healing and restoration, to enable them to utilise their painful experiences to regain control of their lives and overcome negative feelings and unhelpful behaviour which might have been caused by the trauma.
“We support victims and survivors of sexual abuse. Our support includes six months’ interim accommodation, counselling, skills development and reintegration programmes,” said Javu. The shelter helps to restore confidence and hope among the abused women so that they can get back to their feet and leave the people who are behind their abuse.
The shelter helps to restore confidence and hope among the abused women so that they can get back to their feet and leave the people who are behind their abuse.
Life after abuse
“Our main aim is to give hope to abused women and assure them that there is life after abuse, and the first step towards that life is to restore their confidence so that they can leave the people who are abusing them. Most of the women who come here to seek help are being abused by their loved ones, for example, husbands, fathers and uncles,” added Javu.
Even though the shelter is helping many women, it is still currently facing challenges when it comes to resources and infrastructure.
“Our shelter is still new, and so we are facing a challenge when it comes to resources and infrastructure as we cannot do all our programmes as we would like – for example being able to send abused women to driving schools or on short courses,” she said.
Counselling and Partnerships
Organisations the shelter currently works with include STOP (Stop Trafficking of People), Sisonke, sex worker advocacy organisation SWEAT and CESESA. They also offer counselling to women who are HIV positive and still battling with acceptance.
“Our goal is to help these young women find rest from their issues and develop them to serve in the communities as productive and respectable citizens. We also help sex workers who want to quit the industry,” said Javu.