“Of the sexual offences recorded last year, 19.4% of the survivors were male,” said Rees Mann, himself a rape survivor. “This figure could be much higher as a male is 10 times less likely to report a sexual violation than a woman.
“This means that South Africa could have the highest number of adult male victims in the world. Boys and men of all sexual orientations can, and do, become victims of sexual abuse, rape and violence. This is a serious crime that affects men all over the world. One in six males will be sexually abused before the age of 18.”
A man can take up to 30 years to report being molested or abused – “which means that all the evidence has disappeared,” said Mann. “I think the mother of the child involved is a hero for preventing her son being groomed.”
In this case, grooming has a far more sinister profile. “Perpetrators of child sexual abuse may gain the trust of potential victims and their caregivers by methodically grooming them. This process begins with identifying potential victims, gaining their trust, and breaking down their defences,” said Mann.
As the Department of Basic Education has no data in its 2011/12 annual report on miscreants in its department, it is the South African Council for Educators’ annual report for 2012 which provides insight into the deviant behaviour of South African teachers.
The 2013 report will be tabled this week in Parliament, but last year there were 126 incidents of sexual misconduct, including rape. With access to only those incidents reported by schools, a spokesman estimated the report’s figures could be out by about 70%.
“We held 42 hearings this year and 31 teachers were removed from the roll of educators,” said spokesman Themba Ndlovu. “As soon as we are notified about an incident we will investigate. If it seems there will be conflict between the teacher and the pupil, we will recommend a precautionary suspension. This means the teacher is removed from the scene and the pupil can attend classes unimpeded.”
The council’s site states unequivocally: “Sexual relationship with any learner at any school is forbidden. No educator, whether school-based or office-based is allowed to foster any sexual or love relationship with any learner in any school.”
Those who were convicted of a criminal offense will have their names sent to the National Register for Sex Offenders. “There are currently 8 000 names on our books,” said NSRO registrar Ntombizodwa Matjila.
“We do register quite a lot of new names each month. It is up to schools to inquire from us whether any new appointments are registered with us – and they are using that function.”
The problem, said Mann, is that the abuse will continue until someone breaks the silence.
“Hopefully, the Hyde Park High school pupil’s mother prevented any abuse happening. It is important people know this is about power and has nothing to do with sex. It is never the survivor’s fault,” Mann said.