Brian and Briony chat to Joanne Van De Walt: Global Director at Sage Foundation

South Africa will go into mourning between 25 and 29 November, to honour those who have lost their lives to COVID-19, gender-based violence (GBV), and femicide, and to mark the start of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.

rAInbow is that safe, anonymous space.

Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), rAInbow – or “Bo – is a smart companion that provides information about victims’ rights and options, in friendly, simple language.

Accessible 24/7 via Facebook Messenger or online, Bo will never judge or tell victims what to do or put them at risk. It provides useful information and guidance and encourages victims to seek support from friends and family. Bo takes it back to basics by helping users to spot the signs of abuse, judge what’s healthy and unhealthy behaviour, and find helpful resources.

Since its launch in 2018, over 18,480 users have exchanged more than 893,000 messages with rAInbow, seeking advice on things like:

• Lockdown,
• National helplines and abuse services,
• Child services helplines and resources,
• Depression and substance abuse,
• Legal aid, and
• Safety and exit planning.

It features the stories of women who were in abusive relationships and the steps they took to get out, covering topics like divorce, evidence gathering, and protection orders.

The newly-launched legal module was designed to help victims understand their rights and to link them to resources such as Legal Aid South Africa, Women's Legal Centre, Lawyers for Human Rights, and the Warrior Project.