TEARS Foundation

TEARS Foundation – Organisation

Country

South Africa

Province(s)

Gauteng

City

Sandton

Address

85 Protea Road, Kingsley Office Park,
Block C, Chislehurston, Sandton

Description

The TEARS (Transform Education About Rape and Sexual abuse) Foundation provides access to crisis intervention, advocacy, counselling, and prevention education services for those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, and child sexual abuse. Confidential services are provided to all victims at no charge.

Mission
To be an agent of transformation for all aspects of education about rape and sexual abuse in order to promote positive change in societal values and attitudes, where the right to say “NO” is upheld as a basic human right; where victims of rape and sexual abuse are treated with empathy and dignity; where access to legal, medical and psychological support is easily available to each and every member of society, regardless of gender, race or economic status.

Current Projects
Our organization was founded because Mara (our founder) is a survivor committed to developing new ways of dealing with issues around rape and abuse. Below are the projects and programs in which TEARS is currently involved:
 
1. Medi-App: Research Project (pending funding):

Medi-App, is a software application which enables doctors/clinicians to track and record indicators of suspected abuse of children (research has been limited to children under 12). This information is stored on a cloud system, enabling secure access and collaboration between clinicians to check for any prior patient records of suspected or confirmed abuse.

2. Help at your Fingertips (ongoing):
The toll-free helpline, Help at your Fingertips (*134*7355#) has helped 31 286 people over the last year. The prompt activated service sends the caller details of their three nearest facilities providing support to victims of rape and sexual assault. Using heat maps, we can effectively see where rape and abuse hotspots are. This then helps us to better prepare effective pro-active methods to educate communities across South Africa.

3. Interventions (ongoing)
Interventions are logged when victims contact the TEARS team directly (via Facebook, email, or phone call) for assistance. We then use the Help at Your Fingertips Database to connect them to the services they need, as well as encourage them to use the resources provided to them. Between 1 March 2016 – 28 February 2017, we have assisted 301 clients facing a variety of difficulties. Most of the victims (80%) were adults, 12% of the victims were children, and 8% were teenagers. Approximately 31% of those we assisted were brought to TEARS’s attention by a friend, acquaintance, organization or social worker. The majority of our clients have been victims of rape (54%), followed by, other forms of gender based violence (24%) and “Other” (22%) which includes drug abuse, mental health issues, shelters, volunteering, HIV, money problems, etc. 

4. Lifeboard (by request):
TEARS has developed an interactive board game Lifeboard to educate learners and to provide a way for them to start talking about rape and sexual abuse in our society, where such behaviour has become the norm, and at the same time taboo, which is a significant challenge. The game is fun and creates a lively and interactive atmosphere.  The program is relevant to youth and communities for the reinforcement of communication in a non-threatening environment. It allows for both extroverts and introverts to participate with ease.

5. Awareness-Raising
TEARS also does talks on Gender-Based Violence, with a particular focus on sexual violence and education around consent. 

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