Monthly Archives: April 2014

What about the Children?

charlie_fishing_with_grandson_md_wht

Newspaper headline: “Grade R girl in rape shock at school”

• Tests confirm girl aged 5, was penetrated, allegedly by three Grade 2 boys on school grounds
• Victim’s parents were only told of the alleged incident a week after it happened
• Boys forced her to take off her underwear and raped her
• The boys (Grade 2) told her they were going to kill her if she reported them, but she told her teacher the next day. She did not tell her parents

I am struggling to understand:-

• What do boys aged 7 or 8 know about erections and sex? Where has this behaviour been learnt?
• Has this behaviour been learnt through own experience or is this acting out what they have observed being done to someone else?
• What led to them learning this behaviour?
• This was not just a group of Grade 2 boys exploring or engaging in sexual play. Where did they even get the idea of three boys, as a group, violating another child like this?

According to South African law, a child under the age of 10 does not have criminal capacity and cannot be arrested. The child would be referred to the Children’s Court.

In another incident . . .

Newspaper headline: “Child 9, raped and burnt in January dies after dad’s 2 month ward virgil”

• She was raped, set alight while still alive with the intention to kill her on January 18, 2014 but after being found in a bush along a major highway the next day severely burnt, managed to tell residents she recognised the man who had raped her and that he laughed as he set her alight saying “you will never be able to identify me”.

In yet another incident . . .

“Khayelitsha community still in shock following the brutal rape of a 55 year old woman last week by her 25 year old son and his friends”.

What has become of our society? Where have we gone wrong in raising our sons?

Top ten (10) reasons why parents don’t discuss child sexual abuse

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1. Children are seldom victims of sexual abuse
Children are victims of sexual abuse far more than we realise. Children who are soft-spoken by nature, those who are told to “speak when you are spoken to”, the shy introvert type of child is usually a soft target for the sexual predator. These are the children who would keep quiet if threatened (the predator usually threatens to punish them if they tell). Children are easily bribed – fancy clothes, sweets, jewellery – just depends on the age of the child.

2. This kind of thing does not happen where we live
Sexual abuse happens everywhere – it is not specific to one area. Children are either abused in their own homes or in homes where they feel comfortable, in surroundings familiar to them (an uncle/aunt’s house, grandparents house etc)

3. We don’t let our children go near strangers
Children are seldom abused by strangers. The abuser is usually known to the child. It could be the parent of the opposite sex, grandparent, aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, brother or sister. Warning children to stay away from strangers gives them a false sense of security because it is often those they trust to protect them, who are the ones who abuse them.

4. My child is not old enough for this discussion
Children as young as a few weeks are being sexually abused by fathers, grandfathers, mother’s boyfriends etc. As soon as a child can understand (in an age appropriate way), we should explain acceptable behaviour and what is not acceptable between adult and child.

5. I don’t want to scare my child
Experiencing sexual abuse is far more scary to a child than being informed of what it is. When a child (irrespective of age) is touched in an inappropriate manner, the child instinctively knows what is being done is wrong, but does not know why it is wrong and feels helpless/powerless to do something about it.

6. I would know if something happened to my child
Really? Would you really know if something happened to your child? Abusers are usually very careful not to leave physical evidence of abuse except when it comes to sexual abuse, the damage is usually internal which is easier to hid unless you, as the parent, know the warning signs to watch out for. How observant are you? Will you notice when your child starts crying for no reason? Will you notice when your child is not sitting or walking like they did before?

7. My child would tell me if something happened to him/her
How sure are you that your child would tell you? Would you believe him/her? Would you blame the child? Does your child know that he/she can come to you and that he/she will be believed and taken seriously?

8. We never leave our child alone with adults
Really? So you never leave your child at your parents or parents-in-law’s place while you go out? You never leave the child with a relative? A neighbour? A friend? A babysitter? School teacher?

9. I don’t want to put thoughts in his/her head
Children cannot and will not lie about something they have never experienced first hand. A child who has never been exposed to sex or any sexual acts will never be able to lie about something like that so you will never put thoughts into their head. As an adult, you should be able to tell the difference between make-believe and the truth. You will know . . . deep down in your gut.

10. It’s not going to happen to my child
Can you be absolutely 100 percent sure that this will never happen to your child? How can you be so sure? Can you be with your child 24/7 for 365 days per year?

Never be afraid to ask for help! Better to be safe than sorry.

Contact us at: womendemanddignity5@gmail.com

You can also find help at: South Africa Personal Crisis Help Services at:
http://www.southafrica.info/services/crisishelp.htm#.U00heFWSzTp

Is this a case of Structural Racism?

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The Oscar Pistorius extensive media coverage at present highlights the extreme prejudice, discrimination, unequal treatment and racism towards the plight of violence against women and children in our country here in South Africa.

A case that has received very limited media coverage in the media is the case of Zanele Khumalo, also a model who was strangled and raped at her parents’ home by her 28 year old boyfriend Thato Kutumela. Kutumela was found guilty last year and is currently in court, two doors away from where the Oscar Pistorius case is being heard, arguing for mitigation of sentence.

According to the SA Institute of Race Relations research, 2500 women are killed by their intimate partners every year.

• Who are they?
• Where do they come from?
• Why is their story not being told?
• What colour (race) are they?

Is South Africa experiencing structural racism? Surely everyone has the right to be treated with respect and dignity?

What exactly is “structural racism”?

As such structural racism is the most profound and pervasive form of racism — it is not something that could possibly have disappeared in 1994 when political power was formally handed over by the white minority. Because of the way in which structural racism normalises white dominance and superiority, it entrenches and perpetuates inequalities in power, access, opportunities, and treatment. This is not necessarily done knowingly and intentionally: the power of structural racism is exactly its ability to make itself invisible. This allows its beneficiaries to deny its existence (and genuinely believing in its absence) while benefiting from it.

Structural racism is more difficult to locate in a particular institution because it involves the reinforcing effects of multiple institutions and cultural norms, past and present, continually producing new, and re-producing old forms of racism.

http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/structural-racism-the-invisible-evil-that-must-be-addressed/

In the Oscar Pistorius case, certain facts regarding the injuries sustained and the post mortem results were withheld from the general public “to protect the dignity of the victim”.

What about Anene Booysen? Her gruesome injuries and post mortem results were shared in all media (print and electronic). What about her dignity? What about her family who constantly had to be reminded about her gruesome death? Her perpetrator’s trial was not televised internationally like the Oscar/Reeva story.

There are many similarities between the Oscar/Reeva story and the Thato/Zanele story i.e.
• Oscar is a male in his twenties and so is Thato
• Reeva was an attractive model with a promising future and so was Zanele

The spotlight is on the “white” case instead of equal treatment for the people involved, irrespective of their colour, race, class or background. Is this what “justice for all” means?

Is the life of a “Black” person less valuable than that of a “White” person? Does being “Black” or any other race mean we are invisible? Am I any less of a person just because I don’t have money and access to resources?

What do you think?
Is this a case of Structural Racism?

Clip Art Graphic of a Pillar Cartoon Character

POST SCRIPT:
Zanele Khumalo (a model), five months pregnant with her boyfriend’s child. Raped and murdered by her boyfriend Thato Kutumela in her parents’ home.

His sentence?
10 years in prison for rape PLUS
20 years in prison for murder
Sentences to run concurrently which means he would be eligible for parole after serving just one third of his sentence i.e. about 6 years in prison.