Deadening silence surrounds abuse

It's such a great shame and irony for a child to die by the hand of the mother who carried her in her womb for nine months.

It's such a great shame and irony for a child to die by the hand of the mother who carried her in her womb for nine months.

For weeks this year, the public followed heart-rending court evidence in this newspaper, detailing the cruel treatment of five-year-old Lihle Majaja at the hands of her mother, Deliwe Majaja, 24, and her live-in lover, Chester Makhale, 28.

The couple, who were both sentenced to life imprisonment on Friday, tortured and starved Lihle for more than a year until she died on May 15 last year.

The trial confirmed a known fact that children invariably become soft targets in parental relationships that go awry. Lihle was no different, having been subjected to the most unimaginable inhumane treatment.

When child abuse occurs within families, it becomes a silent crime that is kept a secret between relatives to avoid the public spotlight. But this conspiracy of silence fails the helpless victims.

Thankfully the courts are now taking a dim view of any one who fails to report incidents of child abuse. Unwitting co-conspirators now face jail.

Fortunately, intensified anti-child abuse campaigns have helped raise public awareness of the scourge.

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