"In this minibus taxis are three victims.” My opening lines in this story couldn’t have been more wrong. The vocabulary used; rape victims. They’ll tell you, they’re survivors, and my understanding of rape changed drastically during this production. Journalists must be sensitive. It’s not about being politically correct; it’s all about being conscious.
Sexual abuses are often one’s deepest secrets. Robbed of a voice, how do you tell the story survivors may have never shared before? Certainly without lights or broadcast cameras for an action no one should have to recount. Just Mojo (Mobile Journalism); it’s personal.
I found the Climb group on Facebook, breaking the silence on sexual violence, celebrating the triumphs of survivors and empowering others to heal.
On 22 August 2015 I joined a group of hikers composed of sexual abuse survivors and their supporters, to climb the Drakensberg-Maluti Mountains in South Africa. The event marked Women’s Month, and the first such walk in the country. Nine young people took part in the walk but thousands journeyed with them on air and online.
This story changed me, and the lives of those who walked.
I went on to film a follow-up with Climb survivors in New York.
Hikers from 10 countries now plan to rally behind the same cause, aiming for Everest Base Camp in 2017.
Since airing the story, Florence Masetla, the sexual abuse survivor of the South African Climb chapter, was nominated for the Nelson Mandela Graca Machel Innovation Awards. She’s also now employed as a One Young World Ambassador.
Khanyisa Hlatshwayo, the primary interviewee in the story, is now a motivational speaker helping other South African sexual abuse survivors to break their silence.
And for paramedic and survivor Viaan De Beer's first callout since the hike, he rescued a rape survivor.
This story was published on eNews Channel Africa during the last week of August 2015.
Shooting alone, trekking over 20 kilometers and interviewing rape survivors; a MOJO kit was the most dignified way to approach this story.
The Climb Against Sexual Abuse narrative is a compilation of videos, stills, Twitter screen grabs and Skype ‘live crossings’ all shot and edited on an iPhone6. Entered for #MoJoConTFComp #mojoconEDC