How the TEARS foundation is using technology to help survivors of rape and abuse

TEARS founder Mara Glennie says that by dialling the number below all mobile users in the country can have access to information about the three nearest care facilities providing immediate support to victims of rape and sexual assault.

In light of National Child Protection Week in South Africa (31 May - 7 June), and the ongoing need to empower survivors of sexual abuse, CapeTalk’s Kieno Kammies spoke to Transform Education About Rape and Sexual Abuse (TEARS) foundation about their initiatives to develop accessible assistance and support networks for survivors of rape and sexual abuse.

Help At Your Fingertips

The free SMS service has a database of 3 000 rape and abuse facilities across the country and it will track the location of the sender and send back details of the nearest facilities. Glennie explains that both the service and the listing of care facilities are free.

Having spent many years working in the field, I know that when you need help as a survivor; you need it there and then. Counseling, advice and help for dealing with post-traumatic stress is an urgent matter.

Mara Glennie, TEARS founder

She says she made a conscious decision not to create smart phone application, so that the information can remain accessible to all South Africans, regardless of class and income.

Life Board for youth

TEARS have also developed a tool called Life Board, which is used to teach young children their sexual rights and responsibilities as well as to identify warning signs to prevent their victimisation.

She says the game involves role-play and that it is facilitated with high schools and is suitable for users aged 16 and older.

Glennie urges people to visit the TEARS website and to save the SMS helpline number. She has also offered to answer any queries via e-mail:

Contact her at mara@tears.co.za.

Listen to the full conversation on CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies:

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