She said the municipality will engage with social development‚ justice and the police on how to fight this scourge of sexual abuse.
“We also spoke to the children to make them aware about this and we are now speaking to the community so that they are also aware and so that they don’t just keep quiet about this abuse. One child says when she reported at home that she had been sexually abused‚ she was accused by her parent of lying. So these are some of the challenges the children are faced with‚” she said.
uMhlathuze spokesman Mdu Ncalane said the cases of sexual abuse have been reported to the police but most of them were withdrawn due to a lack of evidence. He added that in most rural communities sexual abuse is considered a shame and many girls were afraid to report it.
He said all girls who have been victims of sexual abuse have been referred to health institutions for counselling and have been constantly monitored.
Ncalane said reports indicated that cases of sexual abuse affected children in their every day lives‚ especially those that are perpetrated by their relatives while their parents turn a blind eye after being alerted to the situation.
“This situation is exacerbated when children are intimidated by the perpetrators that they would be killed when they report these incidents. At times other forms of abuse are perpetrated by some cultural beliefs such as the cleansing ceremony and fining of an abuser (inhlawulo) as opposed to reporting the matter to the police.
“Another form of abuse that children‚ especially young girls‚ continue to suffer is ukuthwala kwezintombi — the abduction of young girls into forced marriages where they are forced to engage in sexual relations under the pretence of preparing them to marry the abusers‚” said Ncalane.