Lucinda Evans

Raphael Wolf

SO FURIOUS was a fearless female fighter against violence against women, children and the elderly that when a thief tried to break into her Lavender Hill home, she lashed him with a sjambok.

Lucinda Evans, who founded the Philisa Abafazi Bethu (PAB) women and children’s safehouse programme in Lavender Hill, said: “A guy jumped over our fence and tried to break into Philisa’s van on Friday morning, but the dog disturbed him.

“On Saturday morning he jumped over our fence (again), but I saw him. He ran, but I drove after him. I hit him with my sjambok.

In December, he had tried to steal my children’s portable pool. I don’t want to be violent, but how do I protect my family from people who repeatedly jump over my fence? In the past two weeks, 10 houses were broken into in our area.”

She reported the break-in attempts and sjambokking, but could not make a case as nothing was stolen.

Evans began protecting and empowering abused women and children after witnessing a crowd passively observing a man beating his wife in the street. “People were watching, yet no one was doing anything to stop the violence.”

She described PAB as the only safehouse in the Western Cape to provide an emergency overnight and five-day stay for women in dire need of protection and shelter, without subjecting them to drug tests as part of the intake criteria, as well as services for lost and abandoned children in need of emergency protection.

“Its objectives are to provide a safe space for women and children who are victims of sexual and domestic violence to live freely and without fear, while supporting and educating them about their rights and freedoms.”

They also plan to encourage entrepreneurial skills through income-generating activities, hands-on projects and vital skills. Literacy, numeracy, skills development and psychological support are offered to child and female victims of violence.

“We often encounter women and children who have to deal with issues of domestic violence, drug abuse or addiction, and poor self-esteem. Counselling and psychological services for these individuals is also provided to help them overcome obstacles, plus court support,” says Evans.

“Another programme involves teaching women how to grow organic vegetables, and they hope to start co-ops for the community women.”

Lavender Hill has high rates of violence, especially violent crimes against women and children. Rape is used as a form of gang initiation, but women report rape to the PAB more often than to the police. Emergency older-person abuse, where the older person has to be removed from an abusive circumstance, is also part of PAB’s mandate.

Older-person abuse is rife in the community, with little or no services to report cases to.

The Philisa Amagogo programme provides a weekly programme with wellness, safety, sport, counselling and an educational excursion to older people. The project is seeking bigger property from Pollsmoor Prison to start a larger community garden that will generate income for familiesexperiencing family violence.

Kevin Southgate, a DA proportional representative councillor and former chairman of Steenberg CPF for over 10 years, said: “Because of my long association with Evans, I have a huge respect for her and PAB for their work in the community, against all odds.”

l Evans was nominated for a national Woman of the Year award in 2013 and founded PAB in August 2008, registering it as an NPO in 2012.