Johannesburg - An 8-year-old girl was allegedly sexually abused in the school toilets by a 14-year-old pupil until she bled.
She was one of seven girls from Orange Farm Extension 8 who were allegedly sexually abused by the 14-year-old, whose name is known to The Star.
Police and education officials said the school’s pupils also claimed the alleged perpetrator always brought condoms to the school, and some were found in his bag when the teachers searched it.
On Thursday night, Gauteng Department of Education spokeswoman Phumla Sekhonyane said they were aware of the incident.
She said the school became aware of the incident after they received a complaint from a parent, who reported that her daughter had been abused.
“We called the police. We immediately interviewed the pupils and found there are other pupils who have been affected.”
Sekhonyane said trauma counselling had been arranged for the pupils, and the boy would be suspended and taken through a disciplinary process.
“We urge parents to report incidents of this nature timeously,” Sekhonyane added.
She said it had emerged that the abuse had been taking place for a while.
Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said police were investigating. “Our officers were at the school,” he noted.
Several pupils told The Star that the teenager, together with a group of other boys from Grade 3, allegedly followed girls to the toilets and ordered them to remove their panties, lie on the floor and open their legs.
They also claimed that while the teenager was sexually assaulting the girls, his friends stood guard outside the toilet.
According to the pupils from the school, who cannot be named, the alleged perpetrator also bullied his victims, forcing them to give him money and food.
A nanny for one of the alleged victims said in the last few months the girl, who may not be named, had bruises when she came home.
She said when she asked her why her forehead was swollen, the girl said she was hit by a pole.
She said she became suspicious when the girl came home with a swollen forehead a second time.
“I asked her how she got hurt. She told me she was hit by a pole again. I told her it’s impossible. I begged (her) to tell me the truth but she refused. I could see she was hiding something.”
She said she discovered on Wednesday that the girl had been sexually abused.
She said a group of other pupils came to the house after the girl had returned from school, all saying the teacher wanted to talk to her urgently.
The nanny said when the girl came back from school, she brought a letter for her mother, who was still at work. When she asked the girl why she had been summoned to school, the girl told her the shocking news.
“I was shocked when she told me she has been sexually abused by a school mate in the school’s toilets – not once but three times.
“She cried and told me she was too scared to tell me or her parents because the perpetrator threatened her with violence.
“She said he also boasted, saying he was not scared of her parents.”
The nanny added that the petrified girl recounted how she bled during one of the alleged sexual encounters.
Police were at the school premises for several hours on Thursday. As the investigations were being conducted inside the premises, the school gate was closed and no one was allowed inside.
The victims’ parents were later taken to a local police station to make statements.
Other parents who have children attending the school were worried when they heard the allegations.
A parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I decided to come here to find out if my daughter is okay. How can children get raped in school? My daughter is in Grade R. I’m so worried.”
Other parents spoke in hushed voices as they waited for their children outside the school gate.
Others were angry and threatened “to deal with” the alleged perpetrator.
“I will kill him with my bare hands if I find out that he has touched my daughter,” said a fuming mother.
On Thursday, when The Star visited the school, which cannot be named to protect the pupils, police officers were still at the premises, talking to teachers and the girls’ parents.