Shame in the suburbs

2013-03-06 00:00

SEXUAL abuse knows no demographic boundaries, and is not bound by class or geographic location.

This was the view of a Pietermaritzburg clinical psychologist, commenting after one father went on the run and another was arrested — both for allegedly sexually molesting their children.

In both instances, the crimes may have gone undetected if the mothers had not arrived home unexpectedly.

In the most recent incident, a 39-year-old Scottsville man was caught by his wife while raping their 13-year-old daughter on Monday afternoon.

A police source said the man’s wife had left the house at about 6.30 pm to do shopping. When the woman arrived home, she found her husband raping their daughter in the bathroom.

The source said the girl had told the mother and the police that her father had been raping her for the past year.

“According to the child, on Monday afternoon, her father called her to the bathroom after her mother had left for the shop. He instructed her to take off her pants and lean forward and raped her,” said the source.

Caught in the act by his wife, the man fled the home in his luxury sedan. However, the car had a tracking device, which the police used to trace it to a local private hospital at about 1.30 am yesterday.

The source said the man had apparently attempted to commit suicide by slitting his wrists and throat, and then drove himself to the hospital.

The man’s wife was distraught, but told The Witness that she had taken her daughter to the doctor, and that she was fine.

“Please, that’s all I can say. I don’t want to talk about this, not now. It’s too painful,” was all she could say.

A Clarendon woman made a similar horrific discovery last week, when a meeting on Thursday finished early and she returned home sooner than anticipated.

According to police, as the woman entered the house, she heard her seven-year-old son pleading with his father, saying “No dad, no”.

The woman said she assumed the two were wrestling, a favourite pastime. However, she received a shock when she entered her bedroom to find the boy lying on his back on the bed, pants down, and her husband giving him oral sex.

Their 12-year-old daughter was also lying on the bed, but it has not been confirmed whether she was also molested.

“The woman screamed at her husband, asking him what he was doing. The man allegedly said he was sorry and ran away,” said the police source.

The woman then called her father and priest, who fetched them from the house, and then reported the incident to the police.

The man is apparently on the run, but police say they are confident of arresting him soon.

Clinical psychologist Clive Willows said the incidents served to illustrate that sexual abuse could happen in any setting.

Willows said children don’t easily disclose abuse, perhaps because they feel they will get into trouble, or because they feel it was their fault that it happened.

“Children believe that parents and adults are always right. We also tend to underestimate the long-term effects of such abuse on children. We encourage children and other people who have bottled up abuse to report these incidents so that they can get help.”

Childline KZN manager Joan van Niekerk said such crimes were difficult to manage due to the amount of time taken to prosecute the perpetrators. Sometimes mothers withdraw the charges due to the stress caused by protracted legal proceedings, she said.

Van Niekerk said parents should allow the law to take its course and always report such crimes.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said the Scottsville father would appear in court soon on a rape charge, while the Clarendon man’s arrest was imminent.

• chris.ndaliso@witness.co.za

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