Puleng Motsoeneng has put her rape at eight years old behind her so that she can help others to overcome their horrible experiences.
For her efforts the administration clerk at the Welkom police station won the SAPS's Prestige Award 2008 for going beyond the call of duty to help her community.
"I was shocked [standing] on stage when I realised that I had won," Motsoeneng , 30, said. "I am not a police officer so I never thought that I would win this competition.
"The other contestants had all done so much. We are all winners if you take everything into consideration.
"My teenage years were very difficult, but I persevered through the years and I am now totally healed.
"I use my experiences to help others by leading them along the path that I had to follow as well," she said.
Motsoeneng, pictured, pocketed R41000, sponsored by Absa, plus R35000 from the national commissioner's office.
She said she would plough back the money into her poverty alleviation and victim support projects.
Among her various projects Motsoeneng has provided for a destitute family of nine. The parents are now able to look after their seven children, thanks to Motsoeneng's garden and chicken breeding projects.
She has also helped to re-unite the family with a daughter who ran away from home and who was sexually abused.
Motsoeneng has also taken a 10-year-old orphan girl into her care.
The winners, part of the Women's Network within the SAPS, were announced at a gala evening in Midrand during the 16 Days of Activism to end Violence against Women and Children.
Besides the winner and her two runners-up, there were seven other contestants, who each walked away with R10000.
The first runner-up was Constable Selwaletau Magoa of the Lyndenburg police station in Mpumalanga.
Senior Superintendent Maggy Mathebula, the station commissioner at Musina SAPS, Limpopo, won the second runner-up's prize.
They said they were proud of their achievements.