Majority of abusers are well known

Wits students hold a silent protest against rape. Activists say police must not only be judged on reducing rape, but also on the way they treat victims.
Wits students hold a silent protest against rape. Activists say police must not only be judged on reducing rape, but also on the way they treat victims.
Image: FILE: ALON SKUY

The majority of rape victims know their abusers as it is usually a relative or a family friend who takes advantage of the child.

This is according to Childline director in Gauteng Lynne Cawood, who said research showed that 80% of perpetrators of abuse were known to the victims.

"Predominantly, [perpetrators] are people they know. It is more difficult because they break family and community trust. It does something to a child in terms of being able to trust people in future," she said.

Cawood said the shock of rape can immobilise a child and called for children to be taught to protect themselves.

She said parents needed to teach children to talk to them about everything. "Perpetrators can be very manipulative, they groom the child. The best prevention is to allow children to talk to you about everything. We must teach them that if anyone does something that is hurting you, you must tell."

Cawood said they found that counselling helps heal the victim's relationships with their mothers.

"Often as children, we expect our parents to protect us from everything. We found that counselling helps heal the relationship between mother and child. It is a frightening world for children."

According to the 2017/2018 crime statistics released by the SAPS last month, sexual offences increased by 0.9%.

In these, rape cases increased by 0.5%.

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