In the first week into the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence, a case of a primary school pupil who had to undergo an abortion after being allegedly raped multiple times during the lockdown was not placed on the court roll.
Provincial police spokeswoman Brigadier Mathapelo Peters confirmed a case of rape was opened.
“The suspect was arrested on Sunday and taken to court on Tuesday,” she said.
Peters said the case was, however, not placed on the roll, pending further investigation.
Yesterday, EWN reported a primary school pupil was raped multiple times by a tenant who lived in their yard.
The 14-year-old girl was impregnated during one of the attacks and only realised it last week. She has since had an abortion at a state hospital.
Sinoville Crisis Centre chief executive Colleen Strauss said the abortion was more traumatic for the victim than the actual rape. She added there were a lot of women who do not report rape incidents in fear of being harmed.
Criminologist and founder of the Crisis Centre Dr Pixie du Toit said it’s important to report a rape within 24 hours of the incident.
“Then forensics such as semen and pubic hair can be collected as evidence,” she said.
Du Toit said after 24 hours it is difficult to prove the case because after the victim has taken a bath, the evidence is washed away.
Another challenge is the heavy backlog of the forensic lab.
She added often younger girls are sexually active.
Du Toit said if a victim reports a rape incident by an alleged rapist who is under the age of 16, a case of sexual misconduct is opened and not rape.
“If the alleged rapist is older than the victim, a case of statutory rape is opened,” she said.
Du Toit said when the victim is raped by a family member, it is considered as incest and considered as serious in court and can lead to a heavy prison sentence.
A repetitive rapist that targets children under the age of 13 is considered a paedophile. When the victims are over 14 years old, it is considered rape.
“I have seen people who claim it is their culture to sleep with their children,” Du Toit said. “That’s nonsense and the court does not accept that response.”
Du Toit said rapists have gone to great lengths to try to rationalise and justify their actions.
“Most of the time children have difficulty telling their parents that they were raped or molested because the child fears they will get into trouble,” she said.
Du Toit also warned that parents who may be aware their children are being raped but do nothing can also be prosecuted.