The Greater Rape Intervention Program (GRIP) in Mpumalanga has urged victims of sexual assault to report the abuse within 72 hours in order to receive medication that prevents infection of HIV/AIDS.

Police have revealed that there has been an increase in Gender-Based Violence (GBV) cases since the lockdown.

Institutions that assist victims are faced with a huge task.

The Remmogo Victim Support Centre situated in the small village of Leroro near Graskop says it has registered 19 cases of GBV since the lockdown began.

Most of the victims have been raped and have suffered domestic violence.

Victims recount their ordeals

An 18-year-old girl is one of the victims living in the Remmogo Victim Support Centre.

She suffered sexual assault in the hands of her older brother who has been arrested.

According to the Grade 11 learner, the rape has been happening since 2018 after the death of their mother.

She says some of her family members accuse her of lying.

“My brother used to come to our room and drag me to his room and rape me. I sleep with my younger brother, he is 13…I can’t. They think I am making up these stories, that I want attention and say that at my age, I should have already finished with school but it’s hard. Here (at the centre) I get counselling every day. They are very supportive here.”

Another victim at the centre is a 35-year-old woman.

The mother of one had to leave her job as she fears for her life.

She says her abusive partner is threatening to kill her after she ended the relationship, saying she has endured physical and emotional abuse.

“I took it so light before. I thought he would change. He would beat me and come to apologise and say I am sorry. I would try and change and I gave him a chance again but I realised that this was not going to change, he would always be like that and that I would lose my life.”

GRIP says most shelters that house victims of abuse around Mbombela are already full, while centres outside Mbombela still have space.

In the video below, centres housing victims of abuse voice their concerns over lack of support and funding: