It was during this time that Brown was exposed to the deep rooted and entrenched patriarchal beliefs that led to the marginalisation of women in South Africa, leaving them exposed and vulnerable to disease and violence.
Those who seek help from Green Door come from all over the Diepsloot township and its surrounds – simply because it is the only shelter of its kind that exists in the area. They arrive at all times of the day and night, with the clothes on their backs and most of the time, not a cent to their names. They may arrive with their clothes torn, bruised and bleeding, while the scent of their perpetrators remains.
Brown sees around 20-30 victims per month, all of whom are traumatised and damaged physically and emotionally and desperately need love, guidance, care and support. The cases vary in levels of abuse and sexual assault. No matter the time of day or night, or the availability of resources, Brown will always provide help and support to those who arrive at Green Door shelter. He offers a place of safety, dignity packs to clean up, emotional support and counsel, and advice on opening a case against their perpetrators. If the victim is dependant on their abuser, Green Door will provide a food parcel so that they are able to survive while getting back on their feet.
It is Brown and Green Door’s goal to see perpetrators of violent and senseless acts against women and children held accountable by the justice system, and for vulnerable individuals to find hope for a better life.
All of this is achieved without ANY funding from government or corporate South Africa. Brown relies on the goodwill of individuals and small businesses to keep the services of Green Door operational. Unfortunately, without sustainable funding, the shelter is at risk of closing its doors.
Fighting the pandemic of GBV in South Africa is not for the faint hearted. Brown has made immense sacrifices, and risks his own safety to provide support to victims, and to ensure that they receive the justice that they deserve. Despite these challenges, he continues to do this critical work for the community.