Girl, 5, tied up like a dog

2009-11-24 22:48

Johannesburg - Emaciated, grimy, gnawing on a bone and tied to the leg of a table, like a dog.

This was the condition in which a five-year-old girl from the East Rand was found recently, after a neighbour had heard a "meow" sound. She is believed to have been repeatedly raped.

Her mother, presumably a prostitute, who might even have rented out her child, is now being charged with child neglect.

A neighbour found the child after she heard a noise coming from a shack in Etwatwa. She then kicked down the door, according to Philip Stoneman of the iThemba rape and trauma support centre in Benoni.

A water bowl stood on the floor next to the girl.

"She was very dirty and it seems she even ate some of her own faeces."

Condition already improved

She was found with thick calluses on her knees, ankles and elbows, unable to walk or talk, and was unable to use a toilet.

"She was very aggressive and laughed loudly. She showed absolutely no response to the love showered on her by care workers. When one of the workers gave her a doll, she simply threw it away."

Clear evidence was found of repeated rape over a long period, Stoneman said. It is unclear whether the rape was committed with an object or a penis.

Her mother is being detained, said police spokesperson Timothy Masilela.

Since "Little L", as the staff at iThemba call her, has been placed in the care of a care worker in Etwatwa, her condition and behaviour has already improved significantly, said Stoneman.