An­i­mal cru­elty link to child and woman abuse

Stud­ies show con­nec­tion be­tween bes­tial­ity and hu­man rape

Saturday Star - - NEWS - SHAIN GERMANER

THE link be­tween an­i­mal abuse and other crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties has been high­lighted by nu­mer­ous in­ter­na­tional stud­ies and one South African NGO has ques­tioned why the courts are still so le­nient with lo­cal of­fend­ers.

This week, two hor­rific cases in­volv­ing the sex­ual abuse of an­i­mals have re-en­tered the me­dia spot­light, prompt­ing Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) to call for the harsh­est pos­si­ble sen­tences for the per­pe­tra­tors.

On Thurs­day, a man ap­peared at t he Bronkhorstspruit Mag­is­trate’s Court ac­cused of al­legedly rap­ing his 41-year-old helper and then forc­ing her to per­form sex­ual acts on his dog. Ac­cord­ing to SAPS spokesper­son, Cap­tain Mavela Ma­sonda, the 45-yearold em­ployer al­legedly dragged her into a room in his home, raped her un­til the early hours of the fol­low­ing day and then con­tin­ued the abuse by forc­ing her to sex­u­ally abuse his dog.

Gaut­eng Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, Lieu­tenant-General Deliwe de Lange, was hor­ri­fied by the in­ci­dent, as­sur­ing the vic­tim and her fam­ily that the po­lice “will en­sure that the sus­pect is brought to jus­tice and, if found guilty, (he) must pay dearly for his evil and bar­baric acts”.

On Thurs­day, Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Au­thor­ity spokesper­son Phindi Mjonond­wane-Louw said the ac­cused had aban­doned his bail ap­pli­ca­tion and the case had been post­poned to Fe­bru­ary 5 for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Mean­while, this week an Alexan­dra fam­ily was forced to ap­ply for a pro­tec­tion or­der for them­selves, the an­i­mals and chil­dren in their area. This af­ter a man who ad­mit­ted to rap­ing their dog was given a sus­pended sen­tence at the Alexan­dra Mag­is­trate’s Court.

On Oc­to­ber 15, Fan­roi Mochachi was caught rap­ing 8-month-old Blackie, a cross­breed fe­male, in the yard which he shared with the dog’s own­ers in Alexan­dra. The child owner and his un­cle heard the dog cry­ing, went to in­vest i g at e a nd dis­cov­ered Mochachi in the act. They sub­se­quently turned him over to the po­lice.

Just days later, the 45-yearold was taken to the Alexan­dra Re­gional Court where he pleaded guilty to charges of bes­tial­ity in terms of the Crim­i­nal Law (Sex­ual of­fences and re­lated mat­ters) Amend­ment Act 32 of 2007.

The fa­ther of six was put to shame by Mag­is­trate Syta Pre­to­rius, who in­sisted that the of­fence to which he had ad­mit­ted was “se­ri­ous, un­nat­u­ral and bar­baric”.

“Worse still, is that you are mar­ried and a role model to your six chil­dren, and up­set­ting is that you will be ex­pected to en­gage sex­u­ally with your wife,” she told Mochachi.

She con­cluded by say­ing that Mochachi’s ac­tions and that of oth­ers like him – who have un­con­trol­lable de­sires to sleep with any fe­male, child or dog – were truly shame­ful and must be stopped. How­ever, in a sur­pris­ingly le­nient de­ci­sion, Mag­is­trate Pre­to­rius sen­tenced Mochachi to a fiveyear prison sen­tence, though it would be wholly sus­pended for the next five years. Ef­fec­tively, t his meant Mochachi was free to re­turn to his home, which has g ravely un­set­tled the f am­ily who own Blackie.

While the f am­ily are still putting to­gether their pro­tec­tion or­der ap­pli­ca­tion with the help of WMACA and the Sand­ton SPCA, the NGO has un­cov­ered nu­mer­ous in­ter­na­tional stud­ies to show that those who in­flict harm on an­i­mals – sex­u­ally or phys­i­cally – are likely to re-of­fend.

Ac­cord­ing to a le­gal jour­nal ar­ti­cle from 2001 by Mel­lisa Trollinger, the link be­tween an­i­mal abuse as a step­ping stone to child abuse, do­mes­tic abuse and even mur­der is un­de­ni­able.

“The l argest bat­tered women’s shel­ters in 48 states were ques­tioned about their ex­pe­ri­ence with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, child abuse and an­i­mal abuse.

“When asked the fol­low­ing ques­tion, 85.4% of the 48 shel­ters an­swered ‘yes’: ‘Do women who come into your shel­ter talk about in­ci­dents of pet abuse?’ More­over, 63% out of 46 of the shel­ters an­swered ‘yes’ to the fol­low­ing ques­tion: ‘Do chil­dren who come into your shel­ter talk about in­ci­dents of pet abuse?’ ”

She also high­lighted that the cy­cle of abuse of­ten starts with chil­dren tak­ing out their frus­tra­tions on their pets.

“In a study of abu­sive house­holds with pets, it was found that in 32% of th­ese homes, the chil­dren abused their pets,” Trollinger wrote.

The re­search from an SPCA study from Mas­sachusetts in 1997 also claimed that 70% of all an­i­mal abusers have com­mit­ted at least one other crim­i­nal of­fense and al­most 40% have com­mit­ted vi­o­lent crimes against peo­ple.

A 2005 po­lice study from Aus­tralia also stated that 100% of sex­ual homi­cide of­fend­ers ex­am­ined had a his­tory of an­i­mal cru­elty.

The re­ports also sug­gest that 40% of sex of­fend­ers who vic­timised chil­dren ad­mit­ted to en­gag­ing in sex with an­i­mals, while be­tween 80% and 90% of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence vic­tims said their abusers started with abuse to their pets.

While lo­cal stud­ies on an­i­mal abuse are few and far be­tween, ac­cord­ing to Women and Men Against Child Abuse direc­tor Mi­randa Jor­dan there is enough in­for­ma­tion in­ter­na­tion­ally to ask that an­i­mal sex­ual and phys­i­cal abusers re­ceive harsher pun­ish­ments to en­sure they do not re-of­fend – po­ten­tially on hu­mans.

“The Sand­ton SPCA and WMACA would like to see much harsher sen­tences re­gard­ing the sex­ual vi­o­la­tion of an­i­mals who, like chil­dren, are com­pletely help­less to stop such vi­o­lent at­tacks on them,” the two or­gan­i­sa­tions said in a state­ment this week af­ter the Alexan­dra in­ci­dent.

“Sex­ual preda­tors, re­gard­less of the type of crime, should be mon­i­tored.

“It is a fact that bes­tial­ity is merely a step­ping stone to sex crimes where the vic­tims could be other vul­ner­a­ble be­ings, like chil­dren or young women,” said Jor­dan.

Mi­randa Jor­dan (left) direc­tor of Women and Men Against Child Abuse and her sis­ter Melissa pic­tured as they leave the High Court.

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