Francois was violently raped twice in an Eastern Cape correctional centre, once at knife-point, and another on Valentine’s Day. He reported the rapes to the warders, but never received counseling or support. In despair, Francois attempted suicide. After being released, he sued the Department of Correctional Services, and after 10 years he accepted a settlement offer based on the promise that they would take action to stop inmates from being raped. When nothing changed, Francois decided to tell his story. Francois encourages other survivors to seek help and says “I know I can make it because I’m a survivor”.
These stories were produced by Sonke Gender Justice, Just Detention International – SA, and NICRO, with funding from the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, the MAC AIDS Fund of the Tides Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. Thanks to Community Media for Development and Digital Storytelling South Africa for creating and editing the stories. Most of all, thank you to these courageous survivors.
*Not their real names
Sonke works with many communities to use storytelling and digital media to help people tell their own stories around gender, violence, HIV and AIDS and related issues.
Sonke partnered with Silence Speaks to enable young people and adults affected by violence and HIV and AIDS to share their stories. Other digital stories have been produced with former prisoners who experienced sexual violence in jail. And the MenEngage African Youth Alliance and Sonke partnered with UNFPA to produce "Youth Stories of Change" along with a discussion guide and other resources.
Through intensive, participatory video production workshops, Sonke is bringing rarely-heard voices and images into the civic arena. Our hope is that by highlighting everyday stories, we will deepen existing conversations about gender norms and health issues, as well as empower the storytellers and their communities.
Click here to download a facilitator's guide, discussion guides and other Digital Stories resources to assist in the use of these tools in your community.