Things are getting worse :
The South African Star newspaper, in November 2007, ran a series of articles highlighting the plight of small children, and the levels of abuse against the little ones. Here are some of the findings they draw attention to:
- An increase in the number of cases from year to year [up by 400% in a 9 –year period]
- A decrease in the average age of the sexual assault victims – the average age is now under 7 years old.
- A decrease in the average age of the sexual offender with most offenders now under the age of 18 years
- An escalation of the use of brute force
- An increase in the number of children who become HIV positive after a history of sexual assault
- In all children under aged 12 the highest incidence of rape occurred in children from ages 3 to 4
- The main age of the rape victims is 6.3 years, and range from 1 month upwards
- Most assaults occur in the home
- Significant perineal injuries are noted in 64% of cases
- Seventy percent of assailants are known to the victim while 30% are strangers
- The most common assailants are neighbours, and family friends or acquaintances, but also attackers are fathers, cousins, uncles, brothers, mothers’ or sisters’ boyfriends, stepfathers, lodgers and babysitters
- Incidents soar in December because of public holidays, school is out, there is not proper supervision and alcohol use goes through the roof
- Many communities have 90% unemployment, they live on benefits, people live in one or two room shacks [the children sharing with sexually active and often sick adults]there is no electricity or toilets, no recreational or green areas, there is considerable neglect and no childcare facilities
Of all rapes reported in South Africa a quite staggering 40.8% were committed against children – and that is a conservative figure since child rapes are even more under reported to the authorities than adult rape.
A couple of nasty stories:
- A little girl, under the age of one, was recently admitted to the Cape Town Children’s Hospital after a brutal attack by her father. He had bitten her all over her small body after taking tik [crack cocaine].
- A visiting friend snatched a small girl from her room whilst her mother was cooking lunch and her father was out. By the time the girl was found, she had been severely beaten and raped.
Small children are, quite simply, in great danger: that is why we have to keep working to try to prevent such violence.
the infant trust
 Data taken from Childline SA, a nine year study at Children’s Hospital, Cape Town and the SA Medical Research Council