Teach the little ones on rights

2015-07-23 06:01

“Protecting children is everybody’s business.”

This statement is all the more relevant at Ilitha Labantu, a non-profit organization in Gugulethu with a specific focus on promoting women and children’s rights and striving for the elimination of violence against women and children

This is accomplished through offering immediate counselling and legal support to individuals, families and communities who have been affected by domestic violence.

Ilitha Labantu believes that women and children have the right to live in a society free of violence.

Over the past months, the organisation has been alarmed by the marked increase increased the number of incidents of sexual violence perpetrated on children.

Sexual violence is the use of force or manipulation to get a child to engage in unwanted sexual activity without his or her consent.

One current phenomena is that of school transport drivers who are responsible for shuttling children to schools.

They are reportedly sexually exploiting children, particularly much younger ones.

This is extremely frustrating as these are members of the community who have been entrusted with the safety of the children.

At Ilitha Labantu, we therefore appeal to all parents to start taking precautionary measures regarding the health and future of the minors.

The parent has the right to know the history of the owner as well as the driver transporting the children.

The parent should be provided with both contact details of the driver and the owner.

Responsible owners need to ensure that they know their driver’s history and put measures in place to monitor the drivers’ conduct on a regular basis.

Background checks should be conducted on whether the driver is a registered paedophile.

We need an honest discussion around these issues, as sexual exploitation of children in our communities spreads further in our silence.

Lack of reporting these incidents pose a greater danger to our children, as this means that the perpetrators will continue preying on them.

Ilitha Labantu appeals to parents, caregivers, educators and all community members to break the silence and speak out against such incidences as the well-being of our children is dependent on us.

We strongly urge parents to inform their children of the dangers of sexual exploitation in order to help them understand that it is wrong for anyone to touch them inappropriately or force them to perform inappropriate acts.

Most importantly, children should not keep quiet when confronted by such incidents, but should immediately report these and other suspicious acts to their parents or an adult they trust.

It is about high time that we as a community take responsibility for caring and protecting the rights of our children.

.Monakali is a researcher and media liaison officer at Ilitha Labantu

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