“Someone is following me. Can I please just wait inside?”
These were the words that started an unintentional movement that saw various restaurants dotted across Cape Town establish themselves as safe spots under the #ComeIn policy, initiated by the Raptor Room on Roeland Street.
With gender-based violence and xenophobia in the spotlight this month, feeling safe in public spaces has been a scarcity. This realisation did not sit well with co-owner of the Raptor Room, Danél Maree.
The aim behind the establishment of the restaurant was for it to be a safe space complete with food, drink, music and art for people from diverse backgrounds. So, when the recent issues of violence came into the spotlight again, she felt obligated to post the viewpoint of the Raptor Room.
Little did Danél know that what was for her just a heartfelt message would soon evolve into a ripple effect of kindness.
“It’s been very cool to notice how many other establishments were so eager and willing to just jump on it without question,” she said.
Since the start of September, the Raptor Room has had many people, many of whom were women, come in saying they had been unaware of the restaurant’s existence. They felt good knowing that they could go out and have dinner alone with the assurance that the establishment would take care of them.
With that, Danél encourages whoever wants and needs to, to “just come in”.
“There’s strength in community and we’re only as strong as the community is because we have to have each other’s backs. If the space can help one woman, one child then I’m happy.”