Teen gang-raped by classmates
Indhrannie Pillay and Candyce Krishna, The Witness
Durban - Four South Coast teenagers face criminal charges after they allegedly gang-raped a schoolmate, filmed the attack and circulated the footage among fellow pupils.
Police are still looking for a fifth boy who took part in the rape.
A source told The Witness the 16-year-old victim had been intoxicated and only learned of the film when she saw herself in it at school this week.
“Her mother was called to school and fainted when she saw the footage,” the source added.
When a staff member got wind of the scandal, she called the police who came to the school on Tuesday.
Three boys, aged 15, 16 and 17, were arrested. Another 17-year-old handed himself over on Wednesday.
“When the officers arrived [at the school] they confiscated a cellphone, which clearly depicts persons performing sexual acts on the victim, who apparently had passed out,” said police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Zandra Wiid.
They were told that the girl and several boys played truant last Thursday, bought liquor and went to the Port Shepstone beachfront.
“This is where the girl allegedly got intoxicated and passed out. Thereafter five boys started performing the sexual acts on her,” said Wiid.
“A video recording of the incident was made and later distributed to other cellphones.”
A person who viewed the footage and asked to remain anonymous described it as “traumatising and disgusting”.
The source said the girl appeared to be drugged and drunk.
“It was like she was asleep while these boys were having sex with her. No condoms were used,” said the source.
In terms of the Child Justice Act, which deals with children in conflict with the law, the teens will appear before a preliminary inquiry, similar to a first appearance in court.
The date has still to be confirmed and a probation officer will submit an assessment report.
The incident is the latest in what National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga described as an “unabating trend” in the past two years.
He warned that the NPA “intends to become very serious with its prosecutions”.
He warned that in addition to rape, the teens could also be charged with the illegal production, distribution and possession of child pornography.
Mhaga said the NPA had embarked on an educational project, teaching children at schools about the contravention of the Sexual Offences Act and of underage sexual activities.
Joan van Niekerk, national manager for training and advocacy at Childline, said the law needed to take a stronger line with this type of crime.
“It is happening far too frequently in South Africa and that is a great concern.
“Very often these perpetrators are never brought to book. There is always a problem with the investigation and they get away.”
Van Niekerk called for “a rapid and thorough investigation in this case”.
“The offenders must be publicly dealt with.”
She said children in South Africa were being brought up in communities and families where crime was prevalent. “They start to act out their personal experiences.”
She said children were also exposed to lots of crime in the media.
Breakdown in family values
Childline’s KZN director, Linda Naidoo, said the trauma of the alleged rape was compounded by the fact that it had been filmed.
“Once it is out there in cyberspace it is uncontrollable and there is no end to the stigma attached to it.”
Naidoo put such behaviour down to the “major decline in values in society”.
“The breakdown in family values, dysfunctional family units and relationships have caused children to have no moral values.”
In August last year charges were dropped against three pupils from Jules High School in Johannesburg after a similar incident at the end of 2010. While it involved consensual sex and the girl was also arrested, one of the boys faced a charge of statutory rape.
The NPA thought the pupils had been rehabilitated after successfully completing a “diversion” programme in terms of the Child Justice Act.