Sexual abuse is defined as a criminal activity, especially that involving a victim below the age of sexual content or incapable of giving sexual consent (Houghton Mifflin, 2011). In theory sexual abuse is a simple and straight forward thing, if somebody passes unwelcomed sexual advances on you then you have the right to lay criminal charges against that specific person, but nothing will guarantee the positive outcome on the charges nor promise that the perpetrator will actually get exactly what they deserve.
The reality of the situation is too many sexual victims suffer in silence, especially young kids. It is under these unfortunate circumstances that innocent children have to suffer from sexual predation, today’s society is so sick and mindless that people especially men inflict a lifetime of emotional scars on minors for just a few minutes’ worth of sexual pleasure. Sometimes I ask myself why? Why are sexual offences still occurring even with the country’s law so strongly against them? Even with the many laws enforced by the constitution, there is simply no decline to the sharply rising statistics on “reported” sexual offences. The stats show that 1 in every 4 women is raped in South Africa; provided the stats show only reported offences against “women” they do not show unreported offences nor do they represent offenses against young boys and men. The stats don’t even show what is known to be the grey area which is the sexual harassment charges or forced oral sex. So if the stats are already unrealistic then how can we come up with realistic solutions to these gruesome offences?
Somewhere in South Africa somebody is in fact faced with sexual abuse, be it an innocent infant being sexually molested, or a toddler being raped and threatened with death or being bribed with sweets, a young woman abused for walking alone, a young boy being sexually abused to teach them how to be men and many more without knowing where to turn to. What if the parents or someone who is close to the victim actually believes that the victim deserves to be in that situation? How does having a law in a constitution help when the victims if society believes the perpetrator over the victim? What happens if the victim is a minor who according to the constitution cannot stand for himself/herself and the guardians or parents simply don’t want to get involved in a rape case what then? The answer is simple the perpetrator will simply walk free to rape again, and the victim will suffer in silence from that gruesome offences, he/ she will suffer a lifetime of emotional scars and this will probably cause a lot of resentment towards those people who were ignorant in the situation. If not, then the victim might even think that rape is okay and he/ she may even end up being a sexual predator themselves or a pretty disturbed individual in society. Others may think that in this above mentioned situation the victim must get some counselling to” get over” it and move on but forgetting that counselling might somewhat help the victim speak more openly about that violent grievances but no amount of counselling will ever erase. The only proven solution is to take preventative measures to avoid finding yourself in such situations by being aware of yourself and what is happening around you. Teach your children to be more aware about their bodies and to teach them to say no and to also report suspicious behaviour. In the next article I will elaborate further on necessary steps to take if you find yourself in similar situations or want to help those who are in the situation. Please feel free to comment on the matter below, let us stop turning a blind eye on sexual abuse and let’s blow a whistle on these monsters.
Ms M.J Mosieleng