This could be important. Rape Crisis, an NGO that aims to empower rape survivors and support them in finding justice, has launched a Mxit portal, which it hopes will improve the accessibility of information about rape to women, particularly in poorer and rural communities.
The app, called RapeCrisis, is currently available in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. According to the NGO, it “distills 37 years of experience working with rape survivors into a simple yet comprehensive information package”.
Among the services offered by the app is information on the possible steps survivors can take when it comes to disclosure, reporting to police, a forensic examination and medical treatment, police investigation, court proceedings and counselling. These can all be important when it comes to empowering women to “navigate the journey towards justice and recovery,” the 37-year-old NGO says.
Providing that kind of information would be important anywhere in the world, but in a country with as high an incidence of rape as South Africa, it could have an especially large benefit.
As Rape Crisis director Kathleen Dey notes, Mxit provides the organisation with a much larger reach than it would otherwise have. “Our mission is to act as a bridge between the rape survivor and the criminal justice system. Rape Crisis is committed to offering survivors information that is clear, accurate and accessible,” she says. “The value of the Mxit mobile social network is that it is an inexpensive, easily accessible tool with enormous reach as it can work on nearly any phone. Women in poor and rural communities might not otherwise have had access to this vital information.”
Andrew Rudge, Head of Mxit Reach says, “The MySafety app was created earlier this year in response to the Anene Booysen tragedy. Including the information from Rape Crisis increases the value of this app immeasurably as a tool to inform and empower our users.”
People can access the app by typing mxitapp.com/rapecrisis into a phone’s browser.