A 19-year-old deaf and mute girl in KwaZulu-Natal is five weeks pregnant after she was allegedly gang-raped by three teenagers in Nongoma.
The teenager is a pupil at Vuleka Special School for the Deaf at Nkonisa reserve in Nkandla.
Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge said the girl was allegedly gang-raped while visiting relatives.
"The girl lives with her stepmother in Nkandla and during the Easter weekend, she visited relatives in Nongoma and was allegedly gang-raped by three boys.
"She did not report the incident because she can't speak and she cannot hear," said Mdunge.
Mdunge said the teenager's guardian found out about the rape when they noticed she was pregnant.
"On her return, the stepmother prepared her school uniform and realised that it no longer fitted her.
"She asked her why, but she could not say. She reported the matter to the teachers.
"After interrogation the teenager confided to them what had happened.
"Police were called and the girl revealed that she was gang-raped and that she knew her alleged assaulters and would be able to point them out.
"Statements were taken from all witnesses and the boys were arrested on Sunday," Mdunge said.
The boys, two aged 17 and the other 16, appeared in the Nongoma magistrate's court yesterday.
Meanwhile, Captain Thembeka Luthuli who heads the child protection and sexual offences unit in Nongoma, said since her deployment in the area on March 15, she and her unit had realised that the majority of rapes went unreported, and in cases where they were reported, witnesses were reluctant to give evidence.
"In most cases they feel they are not involved, so don't see a need to make statements or give evidence.
"I have started a campaign of visiting schools and tribal authorities around Nongoma to explain why they should give statements or even report rape cases.
"In some schools we have visited, pupils have shown a lot of interest by asking questions," she said.
Luthuli said she and her unit have had successful rape convictions, and that four suspects were sentenced to life terms.