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By Themba Khumalo

Some people are mean-spirited, pugnacious bullies who are determined to harm children for their beastly desires.
These knuckle-daggers, whose rotten tiny brains reside in their testicular region, wake up each day with a nefarious desire to inflict harm on children.

It is even heart-breaking that these primordial scumbags revel in the protection of some women.

There are some twisted, evil and despicable women who are guilty of the vile deeds by shielding these abusive slimeballs. Nothing in their abominable souls is disturbed, even when they see a little girl oozing blood from her private parts…all they want to do is repudiate and protect.
This unwarranted protectionism gives the immoral behaviour of these sleazeballs a personal thumbs-up and actively enables them to continue with their foul deeds.

Every child should be cheerful, singing childish songs in the rain, chasing shadows of themselves under the African sun, instead of living with an unending nightmare in the depth of their innocent souls.

If you are a parent, you know there is no image as captivating and magnificent as that of a smiling, lively and happy child. There is no music as hypnotic and pleasing as a child’s vibrant and ringing laughter.

In our professedly advanced constitutional democracy, an unacceptable number of girls are stalked and sexually molested by their teachers and/or other pupils. Although the enormity of the problem is well-known,

its real occurrence is not easy to ascertain because a lot of incidents are not reported.

Sexual abuse is rampant and is a debilitating crisis in our imaginary rainbow nation. Little children and young women specifically, are clobbered by sexual violence. The scary and shuttering factor is that one of the places they are most at risk is at school.

Girls have to repeatedly grapple with sexual violence at school…a place where they are supposed to be safe. They are continuously raped, sexually abused, sexually harassed and assaulted at school by teachers, general workers and fellow school boys.

What is certain is that the sexual harassment and abuse have a damaging effect on the health and education of girls who encounter it. Although our country has initiated advanced regulations and programmes to tackle this problem, sexual violence in most, if not all, of our schools presents a grim risk to our children’s right to education.

It is heart-wrenching that for a lot of girls, sexual abuse and violence are an inescapable part of their school life. Although our girl children are said to have a fairer access to school compared to scores of other girls in sub-Saharan African countries, they have to deal with unacceptably high levels of sexual abuse and sexual harassment in schools; which hinders their capacity of learning on an evenly balanced footing with boys.

This imbalance creates mayhem in that it has grave consequences for the girl child’s capacity to do well at school. Not only that, abuse of girls has dire results for their future and the economy of our country.

Post-apartheid administrations have drawn up a number of legislations in an effort to make sure there is justness in education and uniform prospects for all pupils. Several disturbing reports though, reveal that sexual harassment of girls is a harsh reality in numerous schools.
Girls are deprived of a fair prospect and proper learning because they are endlessly subjected to harassment.

Girls find themselves facing the possibility of sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy and ominous emotional burden. Even a pea-brained moron surely must know that all this rubbish deprives our girls their sense of worth.

There are times I feel like switching off the sun, roll up the sky with its shining stars and set the earth on fire when I come across the following headlines:

Grade 1 pupil raped in Soshanguve school toilet
Teacher threatens to kill pupil (11), after allegedly raping her in school toilet
Suspect nabbed for alleged gang rape of Limpopo school girl
Teacher on the run after allegedly raping grade 10 pupil
Soweto teacher dismissed for the alleged repeated rape of a learner
Boy, five, ‘is gang-raped at South African school by four nine-year-old boys who told him, “You’ll be our dog” as they took turns assaulting him
DA calls for justice after Grade R learner allegedly sexually molested and raped in school toilet
Two teachers face criminal charges for raping pupil at school
50-year-old Limpopo teacher in the dock for allegedly raping pupil (17)

The unpleasant truth in our bloodied rainbow nation is that we cannot count on government to do much all by its confused self.
In order to obliterate these harrowing headlines, we need to take a thousand steps away from the sickening political rhetoric and pie-crumbs promises puked every time there is a nationwide fury triggered by the rape and gruesome murder of women and children.
We lament over the headlines we get a glimpse of on the front pages of newspapers. We swing into outrage and a few days later we move on, and forget.

Another worrying factor is that for countless casualties of sexual violence, the law seems unable or ill-prepared to assist them, for the most part because some low life scoundrel police officers further intimidate the victims instead of acting promptly and with compassion.

A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) suggested that sexual abuse and harassment of girls by both teachers and other pupils is prevalent. Some of the girls that were interviewed by HRW stated they had lost interest in school altogether.

The report said “many girls transferred to new schools, others simply left school entirely”.

I left school because I was raped by two guys in my class who were supposedly my friends -WH, age thirteen, gang-raped by classmates

I didn’t go back to school for one month after I came forward. Everything reminds me, wearing my school uniform reminds me of what happened. I have dreams. He [the teacher] is in my dreams. He is in the classroom laughing at me. I can hear him laughing at me in my dreams. I sometimes have to pass down the hall where his classroom was. I thought I could see him, still there. I was scared he’ll still be there – PC, age fifteen, sexually assaulted by teacher at school.

All the touching at school, in class, in the corridors, all day everyday bothers me. Boys touch your bum, your breasts. Some teachers will tell the boys to stop and they may get a warning or detention, but it doesn’t work. Other teachers just ignore it. You won’t finish your work because they are pestering you the whole time – MC, age fourteen, sexually harassed at school.

I can’t understand how nobody saw anything or helped my child. The school has caretakers, where were they? I don’t feel she is safe at school – Mother of LB, a nine-year-old girl gang-raped at school by older classmates.

“Bitter are the tears of a child: Sweeten them. Deep are the thoughts of a child: Quiet them. Sharp is the grief of a child: Take it from her/him. Soft is the heart of a child: Do not harden it.” – Pamela Glenconner

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