UCT’s survivor support goes online

19 May 2020 | Story Carla Bernardo. Photo Brenton Geach. Read time 3 min.
Support for survivors of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and all forms of discrimination and marginalisation, is now available online through the Survivors Support Group.
Support for survivors of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and all forms of discrimination and marginalisation, is now available online through the Survivors Support Group.

To continue supporting survivors of sexual assault, the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Office for Inclusivity & Change (OIC) in the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Transformation, is now running a weekly online Survivor Support Group (SSG).

The OIC’s specialist wellness counsellor, Yumna Seadat, runs the SSGs, which take place every Tuesday evening. The first session took place on 5 May 2020.

Below is information shared by Seadat to inform potential participants of the SSGs.

To join

  • The SSG online sessions began on Tuesday, 5 May 2020, and take place on a weekly basis from 17:30 to 19:30.
  • These SSGs will continue virtually until all staff and students have returned to campus.
  • To join an online SSG, potential participants need to contact Seadat via email to arrange a one-on-one meeting. In this meeting, potential participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about the group and what is expected of them. Seadat will also discuss confidentiality, anonymity, and how to gain access to the online SSG via Microsoft Teams.


  • On the Monday before to the SSG session, the participant will receive a meeting link. The link will direct to the default web page and will request that the participant input a username.
  • If the survivor prefers to remain anonymous, they can enter a pseudonym. The survivor may also choose to switch off their video functionality to remain anonymous.
  • If the survivor chooses to remain anonymous, it is required that they share the pseudonym username with Seadat.


The SSG focuses on experiential learning. It is a semi-structured, psychosocial educational group which focuses on the self and possible techniques to cope with trauma. The session designs have a build-on effect to ensure that survivors feel safe and ready to explore themselves in greater depth.


The aim of the SSG is to:

  • create a peer support network
  • create an environment where survivors feel comfortable to share their stories and journeys
  • help survivors feel accepted and understood
  • help survivors learn how to identify what they are feeling, what triggers they are experiencing and how they are currently coping with the effects of the trauma
  • help survivors learn how to channel their feelings and triggers when they need to self-regulate
  • help survivors recognise when they’re not okay and when to reach out

Additional support

Survivors will be asked to complete a feedback form after each session. On this form, the survivor/participant may indicate if they would like to schedule a debriefing consultation.

Further notes

  • All group members must commit to attending the first nine sessions, which take place on Tuesdays.
  • If group members are unable to attend a session, they need to inform Seadat so that she is aware.
  • The sessions are only open to survivors and are not open to people who support or work with survivors.
  • Survivors will not be prevented from joining the SSG if they have not reported the incident to the OIC.
  • If survivors would like one-on-one support, they can reach out to Seadat for counselling.

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