Red Nose Day is something I’ve never really been enthusiastic about; I joined in the activities they’d run at school but I never really used my initiative to raise money or even took the time to watch the campaign on TV. This year, it’s caught my attention when my Mum told me Zoella is taking part in a special ‘Bake Off’ for Red Nose Day.
It just so happened that I bought some magazines for the first time in ages and in the April issue of Cosmopolitan, there’s an article titled ‘The Red Nose Day report that will break your heart.’ I was a little curious; sometimes the stories of malnourished children and poor medical facilities, become… Less effective when you’re hearing about them all the time. But this, was different.
Rwanda have more female MPs than anywhere in the world with 64% (the UK has 23%) yet the fact remains that 1 in 5 women experience sexual violence. The progress in their political representation, is still yet to help the poorest women living in poverty that is so great they often turn to sex work as a means to survive and go on living with a fear of violence.
Money raised in Comic Relief, is making a difference, though. The UK-based charity; Ryico run a centre named Centre Marembo, which provides a safe haven for those fleeing abuse and offers education courses. In an exercise to help the women recover from their abuse, each held up a sign detailing their experiences. One woman, was raped by a neighbour and fell pregnant at the age of 15 and was subsequently shunned by her family. Without their support, she was determined to raise her baby boy well and so she got a job at a hotel. When a car accident left the woman in a wheelchair she was taken in by the centre and in the other women, she finally found a family who loved her. Another awe-inspiring story came from a sixteen year old who, at the age of nine, was raped by a family friend and threatened to maintain her silence. After getting a job as a cleaner, she refused to sleep with her employer’s husband and was subsequently accused of stealing and held in a detention centre.
These stories of absolute admirable bravery and strength are, of course, evidence of the impact services provided by the money raised from Comic Relief can have on people. However, as a survivor of sexual abuse, I also believe that there must be a higher awareness and more money being put into services in the UK to help similar survivors/victims.
Caroline Flack, who specially reported on this story for Cosmo, summed it up with ‘…My life was carefree and my parents protected me from any danger. That’s how it should be for all of us.’