25% of SA’S rape takes place in EC
Number of child perpetrators raises concern
AN ALARMING 10% of child rapes involve children raping children, and Eastern Cape police say rape reports were proportionally higher among child victims than adults.
A quarter of all child rapes in South Africa over the past year occurred in the Eastern Cape.
Most of these cases were opened at police stations in Mthatha, Dutywa, Grahamstown, Bizana, Libode, Ngqeleni and Port Elizabeth townships.
Child rapes generally occur over weekends between 12pm and 9pm.
Asked about the alarming number of children charged with rape, the Child Protection Unit’s Warrant Officer Rudi van Dyk said a lot of the time the children grew up in one-bedroom homes and witnessed adults having sex.
They became curious, often resulting in rape or sexual assault, he added.
According to provincial police spokeswoman Brigadier Marinda Mills, there has been a definite increase in child-on-child rape and this often included children filming the incident, which sometimes took place at school.
Another concern was for mentally ill victims. She said it was clear perpetrators picked victims who could not protect themselves.
She said perpetrators enjoyed feeling they had power over their victims.
According to the latest statistics from the Crime Information Analysis Centre, although most rape victims in the Eastern Cape were over the age of 21, it was mostly minors who testified in court.
According to the report, incidents of child rape were reported to police by the young victim’s parents or guardians, with or without the child’s permission.
Adult victims on the other hand often chose not to report matters because they refused to testify in court. There is therefore a severe underreporting of rapes against adults.
According to the report, in the past year 45% of rape victims were aged 21 and older. Mills said it was concerning because in rural areas the victims were often elderly grandmothers.
“As police we are concerned by the high number of old women and children falling victim.
“In the rural areas it is mostly grandmothers who are being raped, while in the cities it is children,” Mills added.
Meanwhile, 22% of victims were aged between 16 and 20, with the remainder being children as young as a few months old.
On Saturday, the Saturday Dispatch reported how courts had cracked down on the high number of rape cases by appointing a specialist prosecutor to handle these cases exclusively.
Courts are finalising such cases much quicker than in previous years and presiding officers are handing down stringent terms of imprisonment. — kathrynp@dispatch.