Deepening donga of sexual abuse

Sexual harassment on farms was on the increase and the victims were getting younger, the South African Human Rights Commission heard yesterday.

Sexual harassment on farms was on the increase and the victims were getting younger, the South African Human Rights Commission heard yesterday.

This was according to Claudia Lopez from Rural Education Awareness and Community Health (Reach).

She said that a study conducted in 2003 by Reach, compared to a study conducted last year, indicated that sexual harassment was on the increase in both males and females and that it was being perpetrated against younger victims.

Submissions to the commission indicate that women working and living on farms remain largely marginalised and faced abuse from their employers, their colleagues and their partners.

Charmel Smith from Women on Farms told of how a female farm worker asked her employer for a R20 loan to which he responded that he did not have the money.

The man later entered her room and attacked and raped her, leaving a R20 note on the kitchen table for her to find.

"Mostly women are dependent on their husbands to provide shelter and food. If he beats her she stays because she has nowhere else to go," Smith said. - Sapa

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