In my work as a pastor and counselor at Emmanuel Church Louis Trichardt and headmistress of Emmanuel Kinderland preschool I have come to work with many people who themselves were survivors of abuse or came on behalf of a close friend or relative who had suffered through sexual abuse and rape.
As you are well aware of South Africa has a devastatingly high rate of rape, wikipedia talks about the highest rape rate in the world.
The SAPS statistics report that
There were 64,514 sexual offenses reported to the police in South Africa in 2012 alone of which over 45% percent where child rapes.
However, variable reports claim that only 1 in 9 or 1 in 25 rapes actually get reported
This means that the numbers could actually run up to 1,548,336 rapes every year
This means that someone is raped as often as every 4 minutes
Interpol has named South Africa the “Rape Capital of the World”
Extrapolating from the statistics, 1 in 3 South African women will be raped in their lifetime.
2 out of 5 South African male learners say they have been raped according to a survey carried out in 1200 schools across the country (Published in Biomed Central’s International Journal For Equity in Health)
The greatest increase in sexual crimes is against infants and children under the age of seven (Rape Statistics South Africa & Worldwide 2011 www.rape.co.za)
50% of South Africa’s children will be abused before the age of 18.
85% of them will be by perpetrators known to the child.
It is crucial that perpetrators will be identified and severely punished.
When predators get away with it, it will happen again and again. 40%percent of South African men have raped for the first time when they were under aged themselves. Why is it possible? Cases do not get to court and when they do, it can mean a potentially traumatizing experience to the child and the family.
Most rapists are serial rapists. Seeing them severly punished for their crime acts as a deterrent for other potential rapists while every one that “gets away” is per implication an encouragement in his social circles to others to keep doing the same.
There are so many facets where we need to be involved in to start preventing these crimes. We are running self defense classes, teach parents awareness as 85% of the crimes are committed by someone within the social circles of the child, but you as the justice department are playing a most crucial part in this.
We as church and community need to do our utmost to make the conditions for survivors testifying as bearable as possible.
I am asking church members, parents of our preschool and community members to assist in putting together comfort boxes for children testifying in court, as these parcels can provide a minimum of comfort to a child in such a stressful situation.
The children who are brave enough to relive the crime to help that justice can be served each will receive a care box containing a fruit juice, a snack, a new soft toy, a mini book and some stickers to keep themselves busy, relieve some stress, feel cherished and be comforted from this unpleasant setting.
All items are all new and the fruit juice and snack are high quality. The box is closed with a sticker (picture provided) that says you are special and indicates whether the box is for a boy or a girl.
The first boxes went to court this week with Magistrate Hanlie Kellerman. Please help me to help the children.