Interviews: The Handbag Project by Crimon Monash
For the following few posts I’ll post some interviews I did while I was a freelancer for Spotlight newspaper:
The CRIMON Monash society is hosting a Handbag and teddy bear drive in collaboration with the Jes Foord Foundation’s Handbag project. They call on all to collect new or used handbags and fill it with necessary items that rape survivors crave for immediately after being attacked.
Sulet Linde conducted an interview with the Vice President of CRIMON: Nandhi van Tonder.
1. Who or what is CRIMON MONASH?
CRIMON is the Criminology Society of MONASH University South Africa (a branch of MONASH Australia).
We are open for all students at the University, and we focus on all things criminology related. We take the students to morgues, do self-defence courses, learn about DNA testing, and we work with pre-schools during our “stranger danger week”, teaching the youngsters about the dangers of trusting strangers and who to talk to if somebody makes them feel uncomfortable. We also have an ongoing project to collect handbags and teddies for rape crisis centres and are going to start working with Anti Drug Alliance South Africa in order to help students with drug-related issues.
2. Why did you decide to start the project?
We decided to do the handbag project because we wanted to partner with the Jes Foord Foundation and help those who are rape survivors. We decided to donate handbags filled with toiletries and teddies, not only to the JF Foundation, but also to other rape crisis centres. The handbag thing relates to the way rape survivors feel after the attack. Many women (and men) feel dirty and the first thing they want to do is wash all the ‘ugliness’ away. Therefore, the handbags will be filled with toiletries and things which will help make every survivor feel clean and fresh.
3. What is the duration of the project?
The project is an ongoing thing for this whole year, and we have two major collection dates in the final weeks of semester 1 and 2. Alternatively, donations could be brought to our office in the Allan Finkel Vonlunteer Space at MONASH.
4. Are you going to donate the teddies and handbags to a certain support group of rape?
The donations will go to the Jes Foord Foundation and also to other rape crisis centres which do not get as much publicity as the JFF.
5. What kind of items should people put into the handbags? Toiletries?
The best thing to put in a handbag will be a nice soap, cream, shampoo, or anything which will help make the rape survivor getting that bag feel clean, fresh and beautiful. Unfortunately, for practical reasons, clothing cannot be donated.
If you wish to contact Monash you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are also on Facebook: Crimon Monash.
The Monash university is situated in Ruimsig North-West.
The Jes Foord foundation opened its doors in 2009 following the brutal gang rape of Jes Foord by four men while her father was forced to look on. Their main aim is to restore lives after rape and educate people about the realities of sexual assault in South Africa.
Jes Foord started the handbag Project, because she realised that the handbags (filled with goodies) help rape victims feel special and restore their dignity. “It’s the first step towards claiming her body and her life back.”
The majority of rape victims come from underprivileged areas. They often don’t have access to running water and bathing supplies.
The foundation’s goal for 2013 is to collect 10 000 handbags in total. They have collected 930 bags so far.
If you want to become involved or donate to the foundation you can contact them by sending an email: email@example.com