Other parents break silence about initiation torture

2014-06-03 00:00

CONCERNED parents have broken their silence on other cases of assault and abuse that their children claim to have suffered at the hands of Voortrekker High School prefects.

Parents tell of withdrawn children nursing emotional scars, as a trend of sometimes brutal ritual initiation emerges.

A parent, who requested anonymity to protect the identity of her son, said that similarly sadistic initiation rituals took place at the school every year.

“My son was in Grade 8 in Voortrekker last year and he went through exactly the same horror as Matthew [Opperman]. He was also badly beaten repeatedly and was burnt with cigarette lighters,” she said.

She said that her pleas to the hostel administrator and school principal were ignored. “I was crying my eyes out in their office because I didn’t know what to do and in the end nothing was done,” she charged.

She claimed she had been told that her son “needed to man up and deal with the world as it was, and this helped him to do that”.

She added that fear of retribution kept victims quiet.

“These kids are scared senseless and they refuse to talk about what has been done to them. I only found out when I saw the burn marks on my child.

“He has been emotionally scarred for life and that will never change. I am wracked by guilt that I didn’t pull him out of the school sooner, making him finish the year,” she added.

She also said that the pupils in matric were simply doing what was done to them by older pupils when they were in lower grades.

Another parent, who also could not be named, said that his son had confessed to him that he had been brutally initiated.

“I asked him about it and he opened up to me that this had happened to him. It happens every year at that school.

“I recognise now that he was really depressed at that time of the year, but he never mentioned anything to me. Only now do the marks I saw on his body make sense and at the time, he would tell me that he had been hurt playing rugby,” he said.

“That kind of behaviour is now commonplace at the school. I can’t say anything about it now because I still have a child there, I don’t want to rock the boat,” he added.

Contact Jeff Wicks on

jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

082 073 8565 or

@jeff__wicks on Twitter

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