THE HANDBAG PROJECT
One of our initiatives is the Handbag Project. New or used handbags are donated, containing items that can assist a rape victim during the initial reporting process at the police station. These are items such as a facecloth, soap and new underwear, etc. Typically, any item of clothing with forensic evidence on it must be taken from the rape victim at a time when she or he already feels so vulnerable. She or he must then undergo a physical examination before being allowed to shower. A handbag with these ‘comfort’ items in it can go a long way in helping the victim feel a little better. The most important item in the bag however, is a letter with a few words of encouragement to restore some hope to the victim during this traumatic time. Jes said it can be a few words or an essay but ideally something from your heart to theirs. For example:
“No matter what has happened you are special, and please don’t let anyone take that away from you. You can, and will, get through this. There are so many people who really care and will help you gain your strength. This gift is given to you with love from Louise”.
When you are at your lowest, just receiving the bag with all the goodies, a simple gift that can give you hope which is a fundamental step in recovery.
The Handbag Project started shortly after our Foundation was established and to date we have packed and delivered over 51407 rape comfort bags to survivors all over South Africa. Sadly, our Kiddi packs make up 60% of our total monthly quota and are currently in high demand. A kiddi pack is for children under the age of 12. In 2018 we started a new pack for the children attending court as witnesses in a sexual assault case. These bags have been received well by the Court Preparation Officer in Pinetown and will be increased to include Verulam courts this year.
This year we have set our target to exceed packing and delivering over 5 000 rape comfort bags, and Jes is therefore appealing for good condition handbags (bags you no longer use or one you may have received as a gift but will never use.) Each handbag received will be packed with the items on the list below. It would of course be greatly appreciated if you could hand in the bag including a few rape comfort items, but an empty handbag is of great help as well. Should you wish to donate a bulk of certain items and not individual bags, you are also most welcome to do so.
JFF’s cost to pack these bags amounts to R170 per handbag – so individuals and companies are also welcome to donate a monetary amount so we can purchase the bags and items ourselves.
RAPE COMFORT BAGS
For anyone wanting to donate or drop off bags for this project – you can do so at:
1. The JFF Offices – Aloe Block, Fairways Office Park, 3 Abrey Road, Kloof.
2. Faces Salon – Shop 3, Fields Shopping Centre, 13 Old Main Road, Kloof
3. Perry Bikes – 1 Sneezewood Lane, Glen Anil & 13 Moffat Drive, Ballito Business Park, Ballito
4. Buff Beauty Parlour – The Boulevard, 19 Park Ln, Umhlanga Ridge
5. WOA Fuels and Oils – 14 Frosterley Crescent, Umhlanga
6. Scarecrows gifts & antiques, Rosetta
7. Engen Boshoff Street, Pietermaritzburg
8. Sani Pharmacy at the PHC clinic, Old Main Road, Underberg
9. 40 Kildare Road, Glenwood
10. Mum’s Mail HQ – 2 Romsey Grove, Durban North