Bronwyn cares for victims of trauma

Bronwyn Moore

Women, like men, matter every single month of the year.

This is the view of Bronwyn Moore, founder and director of Community Cohesion, who deals with domestic abuse, human trafficking, rape survivors and much more in the Hout Bay area every day of her life.

Community Cohesion is an NGO working with victims of violence and crime, providing rights-based therapeutic counselling
and assistance.

Ms Moore does not think much about Women’s Month though, calling it a “cupcake month” and too “commercialised”.

“It infuriates me that what we are supposed to be acknowledging, that incredible march against an unjust system, made by women to the Union Buildings in 1956, has been turned into a month of platitudes, as if in all the other months of the year, women do not mat-
ter.

“We only hear about what women are doing in this month and to me, it feels a bit patronising. Now it is about mani-pedi specials and spoiling yourself. Sure, I like a good mani-pedi like most people, but there is so much that is still worth raising our collective voices, as women about, like they did in 1956. I hate that it has become so commercialised really, Women’s Day sales?”

Ms Moore was born in the late 1960s and is the youngest child with four older brothers, having lived her entire life in Cape Town.

For the past 21 years, she has been living in Hout Bay. She studied at UCT and received her post graduate degree in education in the 1980s.

She taught for many years under the old government and spent much of her time fighting them around Christian national education.

She left teaching and entered the world of television, becoming a producer later and director of her own television production company, where she did documentaries, including the travel show, Going Nowhere, Slowly. She left TV
around 2010 and decided to transform her voluntary work in the community to form Community Cohesion.

Nine years down the line, Community Cohesion has created jobs for 14 people and were acknowledged by the national government as the top direct service provider for victims of violence and crime in their sector.

“We have had many successes over the year such as women who have left violent home situations, human trafficking victims who
are now safe, rape victims turned intorapesurvivors,families who have had successful mediations who are now living in har-
mony, victims of elder abuse who are now in homes where they are cared for and more,” Mr Moore said.

Community Cohesion is based in Hout Bay with other offices located in Ocean View and Masiphumelele, where they service not only those areas but Red Hill, Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town as well through their Victim Empowerment Programme.

Another key programme is called One School at a Time, where they work in a school for a three-year period and in that time, the pupils, parents and teachers have full-time access to a team of four counsellors at the school and social workers as needed.

Ms Moore took it a step further and started working with the educators and school management team on systems and inter-personal communication and dynamics.

Community Cohesion also has a team at the district surgeon to work with victims of sexual violence
and a social worker who works in all three areas and focuses on the perpetrators of domestic vio-
lence.

“Hout Bay is diverse, but incredibly caring, it might not always seem like it, especially not on social media, but we see people from all of the so-called three areas, for the same issues, some are just harder to get out of due to socio-economic realities. There are so many extraordinary people making such huge differences in the lives of others in this place, every single day,” she said.

When Ms Moore is not out helping others, she spends her time “reading, reading and more reading” and if the weather is good, taking walks on Chappies with their eclectic mountain group called the Elusive Waterfalls.

For Ms Moore, the current situation in the country “feels really scary right now” due to the constant stories of violence.

“We want prosecutions in the state capture nightmare, we hear about the latest brain drain, we feel like this is not the big dream we all had for our country, but hang in there, all of us who call this crazy, amazing, confusing, loving place our home – every day there is magic happening. Every day we see the best of humanity, right here in this valley,” she said.

* For more information about Community Cohesion, visit the websiteatwww.communitycohesion.co.za or call the head office on 061 683 6943.