Household surveys by the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) have found that 40% of men have hit their partners and one in four men has raped a woman.
Three-quarters of men who admit to having raped women say they did so first as teenagers. And, while a quarter of the country’s women have been raped, just 2% of those raped by a partner report the incident to police.
The impact of these crimes against the country’s women and children are far-reaching. An already strained public health system simply cannot offer adequate care for those in need, which is why charity organisations assisting those who have suffered abuse are so important. But these organisations cannot survive without assistance and that is where the Vital Foundation comes in.
The Vital Foundation opens for funding bi-annually and pays out on a monthly basis to registered and fully vetted organisations working to prevent woman and child abuse. The most recent five beneficiaries have now received their funding including: Jelly Beanz, Joburg Child Welfare, Living Waters Ministries and GRIP – Rape Prevention Programme.
“Business can no longer sit back and do nothing about an issue that not only affects civil society, but our economy as well. We have to do more,” says George Grieve, Managing Director of Vital Health Foods, the company to establish South Africa’s first funding and information sharing body for the prevention of woman and child abuse.
The Vital Foundation has received overwhelming support from the public since first launching its initial R1 makes a difference campaign in August last year. It is funded entirely by consumers of Vital supplements; for every Vital supplement pack sold, R1 is donated to the Vital Foundation.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, so the imperative is on us as a business, and again business as a whole, to do what we can for people on a mental and social level too,” comments Grieve.
The most recent five beneficiaries of funding from the Vital Foundation will be using the money to help pay staff who assist with counselling as well as court case preparation and medical assistance.
Counselling is one of the most important parts in assisting those who suffer from abuse and some of these organisations look after as many as 50 children per month and the funding will assist in ensuring that those in need get all the support they need to recover from the trauma they have endured.