Chatsworth school rape: parents speak

October 14, 2015

A 9-year-old who was raped, allegedly by older children at a Chatsworth school, has been put on antiretrovirals and his family is now demanding justice.

He was one of two boys allegedly raped in an attack during school hours by four older boys.

The boy’s mother, who cannot be named to protect his identity, told the Daily News on Thursday that the incident had thrown the family into turmoil and they were in two minds about whether to move away from their neighbourhood.

She said when her son came home from school on the day of the incident, last Monday, he was quiet, but later confided in his elder sister.

The sister, in turn, told her parents and it all came out.

“I am glad he opened up about the incident,” she said.

She said her two children were now not going to school.

During the day her son was playful, but once asleep the horror returned to haunt him, she said.

“In his sleep he starts hitting.”

She said her son did not want to be near boys now.

“He sometimes becomes very quiet, and when I ask him why he is quiet, he says he wants to be by himself.”

The boy’s sister is distraught and does not want to go to school because she is in the same class as one of the alleged perpetrators.

When the Daily News arrived at their home on Thursday, the boy’s father was busy with DIY.

“This is what we are doing to keep our minds off it,” he said.

“It has really caused a lot of unrest within the family.”

The father, who returns home from work once a month, said the incident had devastated him.

“I am not taking it very well. I want to kill somebody… it can happen to anyone, but why my child?

“He is on ARVs, he has to take adult medication,” the father said.

The visibly downcast man said he would not be happy until justice was served.

He said his son’s alleged attackers should not get away with just counselling, but should be sent to “Boys’ Town” because “they must know what it means to do something wrong”.

He said his son told them that after the alleged attack he helped the other victim, aged 8, walk part of the way home.

The younger boy’s pants had blood on them.

The family were now in a predicament as to whether moving away would make things better for the children.

“My wife wants to move from here, but we have invested so much here. If we move, we move with the problem,” said the father.

The boy’s mother said: “My child might stay here another three or four years and he will see these boys who might make fun of him and make him relive the incident – that’s my main concern.”

The father said he had heard some parents saying the alleged attackers had grown up in “small houses” where they saw their parents having sex. “What nonsense is that?” he asked.

“The parents should be liable,” he continued.

He said he had not told his relatives about what had happened.

“They are very violent. If my family knows what happened, no one will walk.”

But the mother said: “As mothers we should unite and make sure our children are safe at school.

“We take our children to the school gates and this is what happens during school hours. If it can happen to the boys, it can happen to the girls.”

She said they did not want the alleged perpetrators at the school because they were a danger to other children, but this could only be enforced if all parents in the area united and demanded this.

On Thursday the school principal said he could not comment.

KwaZulu-Natal Education Department spokesman, Muzi Mahlambi, said the department had received a report from the school and the boys allegedly involved had been interviewed.

“This is a matter we would prefer to deal with internally with the parents,” he said.

Mahlambi told the Daily News’s sister paper, Post, this week that initial reports received by the department suggested it had not been rape but sexual experimentation.

“Regardless of what it is, we are deeply concerned,” Mahlambi said.

Police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said on Thursday: “At this stage, the case is being investigated by the SAPS Chatsworth family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit.”

A Chatsworth resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “I am an ex-pupil of the school, my mother is an ex pupil and her sisters too.”

He said this was the first time, to his knowledge, that such an incident had happened at the school.

A spokesman for the non-profit organisation Boys Against Rape, Satish Dhupelia, said it was difficult to pinpoint what could have caused the incident.

“It is a very traumatic experience for the children. They become withdrawn.”

Dhupelia said what happened was “horrific” and went against the “grain of morality”.

He said a detailed investigation into the lives of the alleged attackers was now needed.

“There has to be a trigger, people just don’t go around doing this thing.

“It should be found and nullified,” Dhupelia said.

Counselling, not only for the children but for the parents too, was important.

He said there were places that the families could turn to, like Childline and the Jes Foord Foundation at St Augustine’s Hospital

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