Step­fa­ther in court for alleged rape of girl, 10

The Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - Nosipho Mn­goma

A 43-YEAR-OLD man who was ar­rested for al­legedly rap­ing his 10-year-old step­daugh­ter is ex­pected to appear in the Veru­lam Mag­is­trate’s Court to­day.

Colonel Them­beka Mb­hele con­firmed yes­ter­day that the ac­cused would be in the dock.

In an in­ter­view with eNCA, po­lice sokesper­son Bri­gadier Jay Naicker said the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer who had been as­signed the case had been re­moved and was fac­ing dis­ci­plinary charges and pos­si­bly crim­i­nal charges.

A new in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer had been given the docket.

Ward coun­cil­lor John­son Chetty said the man and child had lived in his ward for about six months af­ter re­lo­cat­ing from Johan­nes­burg.

He said com­mu­nity mem­bers had raised the alarm about the alleged abuse.

They called the lo­cal se­cu­rity com­pany, Re­ac­tion Unit SA, to help res­cue the child and ap­pre­hend the man.

“The com­mu­nity re­alised the child was be­ing held cap­tive. In­stead of hav­ing an ‘its not my busi­ness’ at­ti­tude, they were proac­tive. We un­der­stand that the mother passed away some years ago and the step­fa­ther has al­legedly been rap­ing the child for five years.”

Chetty said sex toys were found in the house, which was in ab­so­lute squalor.

“It was not fit for hu­man habi­ta­tion, let alone a child,” said Chetty.

Alvin Bri­jlal, founder of the Vic­tims Outreach In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre (Voice) also com­mended the com­mu­nity, say­ing neigh­bours and the com­mu­nity were vig­i­lant.

He said per­pe­tra­tors who prey on chil­dren groom them in such a man­ner that their vic­tims are afraid to speak out about the abuse.

He said child abuse was rife in South Africa and while there were spe­cialised units such as the Fam­ily Vi­o­lence, Child Pro­tec­tion and Sexual Of­fences (FCS) Unit, they did not have enough re­sources.

Dr Linda Naidoo, an in­de­pen­dent child pro­tec­tion spe­cial­ist, said abuse was men­tally de­struc­tive.

While she could not com­ment on the specifics of the mat­ter be­fore the court, she said in cir­cum­stances where abuse came af­ter a par­ent’s death, it would add to the child’s ex­ist­ing trauma over los­ing a par­ent.

“Los­ing a par­ent is ex­tremely dis­tress­ing, but to be left with some­one who then bru­talises you can make a child feel re­jected. Chil­dren don’t have the abil­ity to un­der­stand loss like adults and may ra­tio­nalise it as aban­don­ment.”

She said this type of sit­u­a­tion could leave a child feel­ing be­trayed and alone in the world. “The abuser some­times uses that to cause ex­treme psy­cho­log­i­cal tur­moil by jus­ti­fy­ing to the child that they are do­ing this (abuse) be­cause they are bur­dened with hav­ing to take care of the child,” said Naidoo.

She said abused chil­dren needed to be placed with peo­ple who knew their back­ground in or­der to un­der­stand their be­hav­iour.

“She has lost so much in such a short life. It’s cru­cial that sta­bil­ity be es­tab­lished in an en­vi­ron­ment where she can be coun­selled and cared for.”

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