Activists question reduction of child rapist’s sentence

2015-06-01 13:04
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Cape Town - Child abuse activists have called into question the ruling of two Western Cape High Court judges who reduced a child rapist’s two life sentences to an effective 13 years behind bars.

Judges Owen Rodgers and Anton Veldhuizen last week said the rape of a 3-year-old boy could not be “considered as falling at the most heinous end of the scale of child rape" because he did not have physical injuries, reported the Times Live.

The man confessed to making the toddler perform oral sex on him as well as to raping an 8-year-old girl, the newspaper reported.

Rodgers and Veldhuizen said that because of the boy’s “tender age” he did not understand what was happening to him and “thus did not experience the horror and disgust an older child might have felt".

A social worker told the court that while the boy had not become less playful as a result of the rape, there might be a negative effect on his social development.

‘Victims become victimisers’

The rapist is himself a victim of sexual abuse since childhood, came from a single parent home and had often been bullied at school.

He had also been jailed more than 10 years ago for assaulting two little girls and was assaulted by a fellow prisoner.

Shaheda Omar of the Teddy Bear Clinic, a child protection organisation, said the rapist’s past pointed to an “inter-generational cycle of violence” that sees “victims become victimisers”.

According to research done by Africa Check, almost 51 child rapes were reported to police ever day during the 2013/14 financial year.

Last week, an organisation in Mitchells Plain in Cape Town told Eyewitness News that it counsels up to 300 children in the area who are victims of sexual abuse.

The organisation, Safeline, said most of the victims are sexually abused by parents, a gang member or possibly siblings or other relatives. She said most cases of sexual abuse were incestuous.

Read more on:    cape town  |  child abuse  |  judiciary  |  crime

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