Written by on August 11, 2020

Miss South Africa, Sasha-Lee Olivier, kicked off Women’s Month by hosting conversations on the aftermath of trauma that is a result of gender based violence and sexual abuse.

Assault of women is so prevalent that in a recent Covid-19 national address, President Cyril Ramaphosa labelled the brutal wave of gender-based violence “the second pandemic”. He urged men to join the fight against toxic masculinity and join the struggle against patriarchy. On Women’s Day, Sasha engaged with women at the Frida Hartley Shelter in Yeoville, Johannesburg – a non-profit organisation that empowers women through providing accommodation, psycho-social support, employment and training.

The women, Sasha said, like her, had fallen prey to violence and were survivors of abuse, both physical and sexual. “I spoke to the women about how to achieve empowerment through knowledge and discussed with them the practical methods that survivors can use to manage the after effects of the trauma.” Cheryl Hlabane, Centre Operations Manager at Frida Hartley said it had been an honour to host Sasha at the shelter on Women’s Day.

“Our country is facing another pandemic: gender-based violence, and so we are pleased to have Sasha share her experience of sexual abuse, which is the story of many women in our organisation.” She said that one in three women in this country have experienced physical or sexual abuse.

“Thank you to the Miss SA Organisation, and to Sasha for sharing her truth and inspiring our women,” Cheryl said. Yesterday, Sasha also shared a Zoom platform with psychologist Dorianne Weil, also known as Dr D. During the discussions, Sasha shared her own experience and drew on the tools that she uses to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. These #ConversationsWithSasha are scheduled to take place all through August, Women’s Month. Sasha said: “I am a #playyourpart ambassador for Brand South Africa and they arranged this special time for me to spend with women in the Frida Hartley shelter on Women’s Day.

“The pampering happens with help from our wonderful sponsors The Unilever brand, Lux, and Andiccio who will supply pizza,” Sasha said.

LUX, the brand partners renowned for celebrating and honoring women, provided self-care hampers for each of the women at the shelter.Pizza was sponsored by Andiccio24. Their Marketing Manager, Clara Namnick, said: “‘We at Andiccio24 are so grateful to play our part in this Women’s Day initiative, partnering with Miss SA and the Frida Hartley Shelter. We find that Pizza always helps bring a slice of joy and ultimately cheesy goodness to the smile of many, so we are super excited to be given the opportunity to do this today.”

The women at Frida Hartley Shelter are dealing with the aftermath of violence and many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, due to having suffered sexual and physical abuse – something that is very close to Sasha’s heart.

She suffered sexual abuse as a girl “I had severe memory loss and the period between 2015 and 2017 is a blur to me. That was what pushed me towards understanding the importance of addressing the secondary trauma. “I shared with the women things I had found helpful; for example, I find that knowing what happens mentally when the panic sets in, and how to deal with it, empowering. “I had to learn how to take my power back. I think that I want the women in Frida Hartley Shelter to know they have relief options.” Sasha shared practical calming tips, like breathing exercises, called box breathing, to restore calm to the mind.

If you have missed the C.E.O of Miss South Africa Stephanie Weil last time she on the Lifestyle with Que, Listen here:

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