Time of the predators

2015-07-07 06:01

Ocean View parents are being urged to be on guard, as community organisations steel themselves for an increase in sexual abuse over the next month.

Spikes in sexual abuse have been noted by the Ocean View care centre during the June and July school holidays.

Care centre founder Johan Kikillus says it is difficult to pin down the extent of crime.

“Sometimes we get two in a morning and other times we get one a week. The problem is that sexual abuse is a ‘silent crime’ – victims don’t want to talk about it. I have noticed that recently, victims have been more open and more people have come forward,” he says.

There always appears to be an increase over winter holidays, Kikillus explains.

“This is possibly due to the fact that people spend more time indoors and the level of boredom increases.

“At the same time, due to poor weather, victims are less likely to go searching for help,” he says.

During July last year, the Ocean View police recorded an increase in the number of sexual abuse cases, which included rape, says Wynberg police cluster spokesperson Angie Latchman.

“Most of the victims were aged between eight and 13 and the perpetrators were either a family member or a friend. There have been arrests on all cases except one, as the perpetrator resides in Zimbabwe,” she says.

However, many of the incidents of sexual abuse aren’t even reported to the police, says Kikillus.

“A community becomes very damaged by sexual abuse. Recently, I had to deal with two separate cases of sexual abuse against teenage girls. Their families, close friends and neighbours were also traumatised and both hurt and very angry,” he says.

“It causes people to start feeling hopeless. To see a child sexual abuse victim is especially hard – people lose faith in mankind and their joy and freedom is robbed from them.

“In some communities that I have worked in, it has become so prevalent that people start accepting sexual abuse as normal. This does not help the problem.”

Most cases of sexual abuse involve perpetrators who are close to the victim – especially stepfathers, uncles and a mother’s new boyfriend, Kikillus says.

“What is baffling is that many of these rapists and abusers are known by the community. Mothers, in particular, need to believe their children if they say that their spouses are behaving inappropriately,” he urges.

Drug abuse compounds the problem, Ki­kil­lus believes.

“Most of our drug-addicted female clients have been raped or molested – usually by a ‘friend’ who was using drugs with them.

“The community needs to begin to speak out and come forward with info. Victims must be encouraged to seek help and not be judged. We must lose the stigma of being a victim of sexual abuse,” he says.

V

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