On Friday 21st November, we celebratedour third birthday with an event at Devon County Hall in Exeter. The event was attended by 60 guests including John Hart, leader of Devon County Council, the Director of Public Health, Virginia Pearson, and representatives from the Police and Crime Commissioners office.
Guests heard from speakers including Sarah Wollaston MP who is a patron and Sarah Green from the national organisation, End Violence Against Women Coalition as well as hearing from women who have used the service. A specially recorded video message was sent by Lynne Featherstone MP, the Minister for Crime Prevention. We launched our Annual Report on the day too and guests were able to see the first showing of a video where women who use the service shared their views.
Devon Rape Crisis Service, Exeter Feminists, Exeter University Feminist Society and SAFE (Stop Abuse For Everyone) came together in a spirit of unity to make a great impact on the streets of Exeter.
The streets were filled with the pulsating sounds of drums and chants calling for an end to intimidation, harassment and violence against women.
A cacophony of energy, voices and belief came together to change the world - starting in Exeter.
More than three hundred women and supporters ensured the late night Christmas shoppers of the city were left in no doubt about the rights of women to feel safe on our streets.
They demanded the right to use public spaces without fear as part of sixteen days of international action, a global campaign that links the United Nations International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women and International Human Rights Day.
The aim - to put women's safety on the agenda every night of the year. While women's lives are being restricted by the threat or reality of rape, sexual harassment and intimidation they cannot claim equal citizenship.
Fee, Wendy & Linda
Unplanned happenings for us, are a feature in our organisation, but generally they are a pain; the kettle blowing up, a funding bid turned down etc. But a few weeks ago, something gloriously unexpected happened. We received a call, out of the blue from a woman who had raised £2,000 for us! Wendy MacTaggart, who lives in Kingskerswell had picked up one of our leaflets 10 months ago, decided we were a worthy cause and set to work raising money for us.
Fee and Linda went down to meet her and receive the donation and found the most remarkable woman in terms of passion and commitment and ingenuity. Wendy has had people close to her experience rape and has seen how the trauma can affect people for years. She was particularly struck by how little support is available to women aged under 18 and so we were able to reassure her that it is our intention to secure funding to develop a specialist service.
Wendy told us that raising money is not that difficult if you give it some thought. She set up a page on her facebook just for the purpose, sought donations from local people and then either accepted the highest offer for these or invited people to come up with ideas for raising the most money from each item. Impressive ideas from an impressive woman - and we are truly grateful. And to all the people in Kingskerswell who contributed items, ideas and money.
Wendy hoped that by telling others how it can be done, that others might be inspired to do something similar. So go on .......... amaze us!
On Saturday 12th July, 60 women from all over the South West met in Taunton for the first Regional Awayday. Trustees, workers and volunteer support workers from four rape crisis services came together to meet, share and learn. Centres in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Avon and Gloucestershire were represented and the women who give their time to the work of supporting survivors are pictured below.
We are delighted to receive the news of a new grant award this week. The Ministry of Justice awarded Devon Rape Crisis Service with £17,500 from its competed fund. This will enable us to improve our services, particularly to disabled women. The funding will be used to make the toilets in our main office accessible, to install a loop system and improve soundproofing in our 1-1 support rooms and to create an additional support room. On top of this we will be investing in appropriate resources for women with learning disabilities who have experienced sexual violence and working proactively with workers in this area so that they can support women to recover.
Joking for Justice
Award-winning comedian and political activist Kate Smurthwaite, Ada Campe and Amy Goodchild, brings sharp, topical wit to Exeter's Ignite Theatre Festival for a benefit evening in support of Devon Rape Crisis Service.
5th June, 9pm, Exeter Phoenix Auditorium, 16+ (13+ if accompanied by an adult)
Tickets cost £7 and are available now via the Ignite website www.igniteexeter.org.uk
This is an event not to be missed - bring your friends and laugh till you cry!
(�Pictured Left to Right; Kate Smurthwaite, Ada Campe and Amy Goodchild)
Kate Smurthwaite will also be running a workshop at the Exeter Phoenix, during the afternoon of 5th June for any aspiring women comedians who would like to have a crack at stand-up! The workshop will run from 2pm until 5pm and will cost £30. Please contact Devon Rape Crisis Service on 01392 208756 to order tickets for this event. We can only accept cheque or cash as payment for this event. Also the group for the workshop is very small, so there are limited spaces, therefore please book early to avoid disappointment.
Kate Smurthwaite is a stand-up comedian and political activist. She performs all over the UK and around the world, and also writes and tours an annual solo show of left wing comedy under the name 'The News at Kate', which has been a feature of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival since 2009. Kate is a writer for the BBC Three political comedy show The Revolution Will Be Televised. www.katesmurthwaite.co.uk
Our Wonderful Volunteer Catriona had all of her hair shaved off to raise money and awareness for Devon Rape Crisis Service. What an amazing thing to do and we sincerely thank her for supporting our organisation. Here are some pictures of the event which was held in East Allington Village Hall on Thursday 13th February.
If you would still like to make a donation and sponsor Catriona for what she did, you can do so by visiting the "donate" section of our website.
Once again, thank you Catriona!!
"I feel like I have a much calmer outlook in how I deal with difficult emotions. It has given me space to process my experiences safely."
"It helped me move forward. I have been able to leave my house and go out. I can now do things I never thought I would be able to do again."
"Helped to make sense of things and re-assurance that just because he was found not guilty doesn't mean it didn't happen."