Report criminal acts by relatives
There is a very strange behaviour that I think cannot be justified no matter the circumstance. In many communities, black communities in particular, there is a tendency of sweeping matters under the carpet when law should be taking its course.
Of course, there are certain issues that can be discussed, resolved and finalised within families without involving law enforcement officers or other stakeholders. However, there are some matters that are beyond family attention, they need to be tackled head on legally or through involving agencies responsible for addressing them.
If, for example, a child is physically or sexually abused by a parent or guardian or any person, that should be reported to the police or social workers. Arranging a family meeting to look into this issue is tantamount to failing the victim and ensuring that there is miscarriage of justice.
When a man abuses his wife, that needs police intervention and not uncles and aunts who will sit down with the couple to establish what happened. Families must know that they can’t fix everything on their own, therefore, they must learn to let the law take its course.
There is no family that is qualified to discuss or investigate an alleged rape incident. Most of these issues are handled wrongly, with the perpetrator mostly escaping with just a warning because most families fear embarrassment should the matter make it to the streets.
The raping, molestation and assault of children will never end as long as we still have families who embrace family meetings instead of the victim, and reporting the crimes. I therefore urge everyone to act reasonably by reporting all acts of abuse, whether physical, emotional, sexual or otherwise to the relevant authorities.
We can’t help seeing abusers and perpetrators of crimes walking scot-free simply because the family court believed his/her version of events. As much as it is normally said that family is everything, we need to acknowledge that such should not be at the expense of other people’s rights, freedom and safety. Let us protect one another by doing the right thing.
Malphia Honwane, Gottenburg, Mpumalanga
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