Gloria Veale. SUPPLIED
Gloria Veale. SUPPLIED

Gang rape survivor uses her pain to help others

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Oct 23, 2021

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Cape Town - When she was just 12-years-old years old, Gloria Veale was a victim of gang rape, which left her filled with rebellion and rage.

Today, she sees herself as a survivor, helping women across the Western Cape in her ministry and upliftment organisations, working alongside people like Solomon Staggie, of Voice of the Voiceless.

Like Veale, hundreds of women are not finding justice against the perpetrators of sexual crimes.

This week, during a parliamentary response, it was reviewed that the Western Cape Court Watching Brief (CWB) had monitored and recorded 181 gender-based violence cases involving sexual assaults between December 2020 to August 2021.

Earlier this month, it was made public that 37 647 sexual offence cases were backlogged by the South African Forensic Science Laboratory.

Veale, of Abbas Restoration House Ministry and who also founded, Balls Not Guns initiative, speaks out against violent and sexual crimes against women with the aim of bringing peace and hope.

Staggie, who founded Voice of the Voiceless, runs after-school programmes with children in his community and works with Veale on her Balls Not Guns initiative.

She runs various programmes such as feeding schemes and restoration in areas such as Eerste River, Bonteheuwel, Valhalla Park, Wesbank and Lotus River – including with mothers who have been left “broken” after losing a child to crime.

“Our initiatives are about peace. We look at restoration,” she said.“God chose me to be a voice. Rape is not about sex. It is about power. I grew up in Bonteheuwel and Mitchells Plain and we were six children. I was a very angry person after the rape, and I didn’t want to be a girl. I then got involved with anti-apartheid struggles and went to prison three times for the Struggle.”

Thereafter, Veale’s life changed for the better.

She took back her power by helping others who suffered the same pain like her.

“I was called into the ministry 12 years ago,” she said. “I broke away from the norm and began taking the ministry to the people and to the streets, and with Balls Not Guns, it was about bringing children together via team-building, kicking a ball rather than picking up a gun,” she said.

“I told myself I need to use my pain for the guidance of life because if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

Veale said due to lockdown restrictions being lowered, they wanted to revive the Balls Not Guns initiative.

Gloria Veale. SUPPLIED

Staggie spoke of his involvement with Veale’s projects and how she had assisted him during the programmes.

Staggie is the brother of former Hard Living gang bosses Rashied and Rashaad Staggie, who were murdered.

Staggie, who was imprisoned for 17 years, turned his life around inside prison by educating inmates. He was released in 2014. Since then, he has become a born-again Christian.

“The aim is that NGOs must work together,” he said. “I work with Gloria on her Balls Not Guns initiatives because I see what changes it can bring in areas. I run after-school programmes with children and help them with their homework and projects. I am a born-again Christian, and working with Gloria, it is about supporting one another and the work she is doing. She is sincere.”

Social development standing committee chairperson, Gillion Bosman, said they had written to the Provincial Police Commissioner about the backlog.

“Earlier this month, we made public that 37 647 sexual offence cases are backlogged at the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory, and I submitted a dossier to the President’s National Council on Gender-Based Violence on behalf of residents on this crucial matter.

“This highlighted that the DNA specimens are backlogged as a result of SAPS mismanagement in Pretoria, where a failed tendering process to ensure the maintenance of the DNA processing machines dates back to 2019.

“A parliamentary reply reveals that the Western Cape Court Watching Brief (CWB) Unit monitored and recorded 161 cases related to gender-based violence, femicide and sexual offences from December last year until August 2021. In the majority of such cases, it is indicated that DNA evidence was unavailable within a reasonable time frame, leading to delays in a speedy court trial for accused perpetrators of heinous crimes, including rape.

It must be made clear that the number of such cases might very well be higher than 161.

I have now written to the Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Services (SAPS), Major General Thembisile Patekile.”

Weekend Argus

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