Women’s Empowerment from Intimate Partner Violence, South Africa

Involved alumni:

The challenge that the project addresses

South Africa has some of the highest rates of gender based violence (GBV) in the world- a 2010 study by the medical research council estimated that more than 70% of South African women had experienced sexual violence. Domestic abuse and intimate partner violence is a particularly prevalent strand of abuse and, despite efforts to strengthen constitutional protection for women’s rights, laws are not implemented sufficiently to ensure women’s safety or access to justice.Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development tackles GBV by providing emergency accommodation and psycho-social services to abused women and children.

What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?

Nisaa has expanded from a single shelter for women fleeing abuse, to a thriving, national NGO that has counsellors, houses vulnerable women, and provides training to social workers, police and judges.

Currently, we can provide accommodation for up to 22 women and children whose lives are endangered by intimate partner violence for a period of up to 6 months. Services provided include:

•3 meals a day
•Toiletries on admission
•Practical and financial support
•Group therapy
•Medical & pro bono legal assistance
•Skills Development
•Assistance with uniforms and school transport for children
•Educational and recreational field trips for children

Describe the project's impact

The project fosters strength and resilience in women who have suffered from intimate partner violence, with many going on to become advocates against GBV within their communities. Beyond the immediate practical support, the project promotes deeper emotional healing, restoration, self-care, development of self-esteem and self-determination. Ultimately, we hope to promote a greater understanding of, and respect for women’s rights, and tackle the influence of patriarchy in perpetuating intimate partner violence.

To hear more testimonies from the women we have helped, download our e-book, Rising Up, Moving On: women writing our lives or tune in to our YouTube channel.