The Shining Girls Charity Art Show for Rape Crisis kicks off tonight at 5.30pm at the Cape Town School of Photography, 4th Floor 62 Roeland Street, Cape Town, with 95 works of art by 67 amazing local artists who have created original artworks on a page ripped out of my novel, selling for R1000 each.
If you can’t make the exhibition, or none of the artwork speaks to you, you can still support Rape Crisis, by signing up for the Thousand Hearts campaign at the exhibition or make a donation online. For R100 a month, you can make a meaningful difference.
I asked Rape Crisis’s indomitable director, Kath Dey, to write a guest post about what the organization does and what this means:
Almost seventy artists have each created a single unique piece inspired by The Shining Girls, a novel by award winning author Lauren Beukes, using pages torn from the book as their canvas. These artworks will be sold for R1000 each in support of the essential services offered by the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust (RCCTT).
This incredible event is part of a growing trend of support for the oldest women’s organisation dealing with adult rape in South Africa whose funding has been at risk for the past year.
Rape Crisis has been empowering women on the road to justice and supporting them on their journey to recovery since 1976.
We learn from every rape survivor that we meet just what it takes to walk such difficult paths and we make sure that these lessons endure and are shared.
Each year Rape Crisis offers face-to-face counselling to 650 individuals and families, the 24 hour help line offers information and advice to 4 000 callers, counsellors are there to greet and inform 2 800 survivors at two of Cape Town’s busiest Thuthuzela Care Centres and court supporters offer information and advice to 1 500 witnesses at five of Cape Town’s sexual offences courts, community educators offer talks and workshops to more than 10 000 participants from community and professional groups and the organisation advocates for better implementation and better services for rape survivors together with more than 34 partners across South Africa in the women’s sector.
Our relationship with government, particularly at the provincial level, is collaborative (we share spaces at courts and health facilities with government service providers) but also challenging in that we provide well researched information that influences decision makers and that is based on the direct experience of the rape survivors we see.
It is this evidence, and the evidence gathered from within communities, that are used to drive advocacy campaigns to address flaws within the criminal justice system.
The basis of the services delivered by Rape Crisis is the work done by trained volunteers from within the communities it serves.
Last year when funds ran out the organisation was forced to retrench all but one staff member yet all of the others remained to work alongside volunteers for no pay. Rape Crisis receives funds for its work from a variety of sources including international donor agencies, the Provincial Government of the Western Cape’s Department of Social Development and from local South African corporations, trust funds and foundations.
Each one of these sources is currently at risk.
That is why an event like this one is so extraordinary and so important. It has a champion in the person of Lauren Beukes. It has support in the form of the great generosity of the curator, Jacki Lang, the Cape Town School of Photography and the artists, all of whom have given their time and resources for free so that all of the proceeds come directly to the organisation.
It creates an opportunity for people to come together for a wonderful evening of entertainment while at the same time supporting a great cause. The lucky ones will even come away with something beautiful to display to remind them that they helped make a real difference in the life of a rape survivor.