GRIP Case Study:
Thembi Ndlovu , age 12, was raped by 4 men in her own home during 12 October 2004. After the rape her mother convinced her the same night to go with her to the police station to report her case. Thembi was shaking, crying and hurting emotionally and physically.
When they entered the Police Station they saw a GRIP/Police Victim Friendly Facility
, this facility was apart from the normal charge office. They met a very friendly and loving person in the Facility, who introduced herself as a GRIP defuser
called Sarah. Sara took time to ensure that Thembi and her mother are comfortable and have calmed down. Then she explained to Thembi that GRIP can offer her a therapeutic and rehabilitation program, Thembi took a liking in Sarah and agreed for the program. Sarah assisted Thembi in opening a case, ensuring that the Investigation Officer was sensitive and patient during the taking of the statement. All of this happened in the separate, confidential facility. Thembi started to talk to Sarah about the rape; Sarah listened patiently and ensured Thembi, that She is not alone. Sarah filled in some forms and opened a file with all Thembi's information, statements and contact details. Sarah arranged with Tom, the Police officer, to take a crime kit and Form J88 and accompany Thembi to the hospital. Sarah promised Thembi to visit her after 4 days at her home.When Thembi arrived at the hospital she did not need to wait in the very long queue in casualties, but was taken to a GRIP/Hospial Care Room
. She was introduced to another friendly lady called Future. Future explained that she is also a GRIP defuser and will ensure that she receives correct medical treatment. Future explained about the medico-legal examination that is going to take place for forensic purposes, about the HIV testing, counseling and medication available. Thembi then received intensive counseling from Future regarding the HIV tests and the different types of medication. Future explained that the Forensic Nurse only works during working hours in daytime but that she did inform the doctor in casualties to come to the room. After 10 minutes a doctor came to the room. The doctor did not say much, but Thembi knew what was happening due to the counseling Future gave her. During the internal examination Future held Thembi's hand and also gave her a Teddy Bear for comfort. The doctor did explain to Thembi that the initial HIV test is negative and gave her PEP medication and said that it will help to block the transmission of HIV. He also completed the Crime Kit for the Police. Future explained that the medication will terminate unwanted pregnancy as a result of the rape, but will also reduce the risk of HIV infection. The medication is however not 100% guaranteed and a follow up test must be performed. The medication must however be taken in the correct manner to work. Thembi did not get such a fright hearing the information due to the reason that she has been counseled by Future. Thembi was given a Care Pack that consisted out of toiletries and soap and she was allowed to wash for the first time after the rape. Thembi and her mother thanked Future and was taken back home by the Police officer.
At about 2:00 the same morning Thembi suddenly had a flashback and realized that the one perpetrator was the neighbor. She told her mom and they went back to Sarah at the Police Station. Sarah said that they must sleep over in the Friendly Facility and was given shelter in the bedroom with two beds. Sarah made them something to eat and assured them that they are safe. She phoned the Investigation officer and gave him the new details. The Investigation officer immediately went to the home of the neighbor and arrested him. The next morning Thembi and her mother went home. After 4 days Thembi received a home visit
from Sarah. Thembi was delighted to see her. Sarah reminded Thembi that she must take the PEP medication and also looked around Thembi's house. Sarah could sense poverty and suggested to the family to involve a Social Worker within their circumstances in order to be included in programmes and get assistance regarding grants. The family welcomed the suggestion and Social Workers from the Department were notified of the family. In the mean time Sarah kept on phoning Thembi and kept her informed on the progress of her case. After 4 Months
Sarah and the GRIP Community Nurse, Sister Ntombi from GRIP visited her at her home again. Both Sister and Sarah explained the need for a Follow Up HIV
test and Thembi received counseling. She signed a consent form for the test. Thembi was shocked to hear that the result was positive. She confronted Sarah about the medication. Sarah explained that it is not 100% guaranteed and Thembi also realized that she didn't take them for 3 days when she was on a school trip. Thembi cried for hours but Sarah and Sister stayed with her the whole time, and when she calmed down she received more counseling from both Sarah and Sister. Thembi was convinced by Sister to take part in the GRIP HIV support groups
, that meets once a month, and she was feeling more secure to meet other girls who experienced the same trauma and also tested HIV positive. Soon she realized that she can still live a long and healthy life, if she practices all the skills that she is taught in the support groups. After 6 Months
Sarah visited Thembi again and explained to her the other perpetrators were also arrested and that Thembi needs to testify in court. Sarah said that she must not stress about going to Court due to the fact that she will receive Pre-Court Training from GRIP. Shortly after a lady called Nokutula from GRIP phoned and gave Thembi 3 dates on Saturdays, which suited Thembi who is still going to school, and her mother could accompany her and cost for both will be covered by GRIP. During these 3 Sartudays Thembi received intensive Pre-Court Training
and also met various people from GRIP including Nokutula the Legalist, and Pinki the Friend of the Court. She also met many other survivors who will testify in court in they were divided in groups and did have some fun with role play and games in the process of learning. Thembi gained knowledge, skills, wisdom, clarity and confidence and was ready to face her perpetrators. Pinki, waited for her in the court and took her to a separate waiting room, which was big and had many toys and TV. Thembi did not feel stressed, and Pinki explained all the procedures and steps to be followed. Pinki also assured that the perpetrators will not be in contact with Tehmbi and told her all kind of stories. The time went by very fast and Thembi was called to testify in closed circuit in the immediate room. Pinki was allowed in the room with her, which made Thembi felt safe and more confident. Thembi told the truth and remembered how to behave and how to face the camera. Thembi had to go in open court to identify the perpetrators. She felt a bit shaky, by the GRIP Friend of the Court, acted like a true friend and Pinky took her by the hand and smiled when she said 'You are not alone
'. Thembi felt the confidence coming back and walked straight to the men and identified all 4. Thembi delivered excellent testimonies and all perpetrators were found guilty and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment each. Thembi felt like winning the marathon when she heard the verdict and could not stop smiling for a week.
Thembi decided to take extra care of the new and younger girls who came into the monthly HIV support group sessions. Things at home also looked better, and the family received grants, and Thembi could go to school for free. The Social Workers from the Department helped with these arrangements. One day Thembi was at school when she saw a woman speaking to the Teachers. The woman wore a GRIP T-Shirt. She immediately ran to the woman and introduced her as a Winner survivor. Gladness smiled and said that she is a Teacher Trainer for GRIP. Gladness explained that she is providing Workshops for the teachers
on how to identify child abuse and sexual assault and on what to do when they identify cases. Thembi stared at Gladness and said that it is her dream to work for GRIP one day. "We will be waiting for you" Gladness replied.