Rapists, too, were children

Comment on this story


IOL  rapist leader0

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Isaac Motapane was this week sentenced to two life terms in jail for the rape and murder of 4-year-old Keabetswe Tshabalala of Katlehong. The writer says her research shows that the majority of rapists were exposed to violence as children, this violence often directed at their mothers. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

The childhood histories of violent men constantly highlight that violence is a learnt behaviour, says Amelia Kleijn.

“My mother had many frustrations. She was short-tempered. If she hit you, she hit you. My father was very angry sometimes – and then he could kill you if he’s getting cross.”

These are some of the childhood recollections of convicted rapists. I interviewed convicted child rapists in prisons to try and understand what compelled them to behave so violently towards particularly young children. The men’s childhoods were similar, with repeated recollections of terrible maltreatment from the hands of their parents and others. Their role models were abusive, violent - often drunk - bullies.

Account after account reflected what had gone so terribly wrong in these men’s lives, with terrible outcomes for a particularly vulnerable group in our society – children under the age of 3.

The topic of rape is highly emotive and I understand that the rape of particularly young children evokes extremely powerful emotions for many.

The reality is that rapists, too, were children. If we try to understand what can go so wrong in some children’s lives to produce an adult who rapes, we can move beyond anger and outrage, and potentially prevent vulnerable children from becoming adults with violent behaviours.

Rape is a complex crime with multiple causes. However, there are common features in many rapists’ childhood histories. These include frequent beatings from parents, older relatives, teachers and members of the community; exposure to violence at home, at school and in communities; dysfunctional parental relationships; and the absence of caring adults, positive role models or mentors.

Another feature of rapists’, and other violent offenders’, childhoods is the witness of their mothers’ abuse at the hands of fathers or partners. These children, without some sort of intervention, will have a much greater chance of growing into adults with violent behaviours, than those who don’t witness or experience violence during their childhoods. This was evident in my conversations with the men who participated in my study. They told me how they “corrected their girlfriends, by beating them, disciplining them”, and that “to beat somebody, you show her love”. And so the well-documented “cycle of violence” continues, in every sphere of life, inevitably and cruelly thrust upon the next generation.

The childhood histories of violent men constantly highlight that violence is a learnt behaviour. I believe it is time for us to seriously rethink some of our parenting attitudes and daily behaviours.

Children learn about violence because they are surrounded by negative role models, the most damaging of which are abusive, domineering and possessive men, or men who fail to recognise the rights of others, and assert their “power” with physical and other forms of abuse.

Nelson Mandela wrote that: “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

While hitting a child often stops socially inappropriate behaviours in the short term, it is the long-term effects that are far more serious. These include the use of violence as a way to resolve conflict, that “might is right”, and the use of violence in later life.

The comments above from convicted rapists reflect this, as does a plethora of other South African, and global, research on gender-based violence.

This doesn’t mean that children can live their lives without boundaries and consequences, when behaviour is inappropriate. Positive parenting and the reinforcement of acceptable behaviours are far healthier ways to guide children, and role-modelling better behaviours that will help children to grow up as well-functioning adults.

However, the reality is that despite the fact that thousands of boys in South Africa are frequently beaten, not all of them will grow up to rape and beat women and children. Research from many organisations, including the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA), demonstrates that when role models care about children, show love and concern, and model better behaviours, the trajectory of many children’s lives can be changed for the good.

These role models can be teachers, community members and leaders, older male relatives and friends, and other mentors. Men who give their partners and children love, safety, respect and dignity can be men who children look up to, respect, and whose behaviour they copy.

So what kind of role models are we? Are we making active choices to be positive role models? Do we have a realistic and positive effect on the children around us?

Can you help to mitigate the scourge of sexual violence in our country?

* Dr Amelia Kleijn is an independent social worker and researcher. This article is based on the findings of her doctoral research on why some men rape infants and toddlers.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

The Star


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Newspaper Subscriptions
JustLooking69
I'm a 56 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
Pretty_Nerd
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 37.
View Profile
OneWay
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 47.
View Profile
Grace62
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 42.
View Profile
blondgirl
I'm a 57 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 53 and 60.
View Profile
_Alwayssmiling
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 41.
View Profile
itu22
I'm a 22 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 37.
View Profile
love_passionately
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
AM1234
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 46.
View Profile
butterflykisses14
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 51.
View Profile
Natz79
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
ddb65
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
Lemoenbloeisel
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
KissFromARose
I'm a 58 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 55 and 64.
View Profile
Omdraai
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 41 and 49.
View Profile
This_is_m3
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 50.
View Profile
Elyn1980
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 42.
View Profile
Chanex
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 26.
View Profile
Comet43
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 54.
View Profile
Sosialemeis2
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 46.
View Profile
Lisa_Jayne
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 23 and 35.
View Profile
PixelFairy
I'm a 21 year old woman looking to meet men and women between the ages of 18 and 35.
View Profile
Duifie038
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 50.
View Profile
Veronica2477
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Poppielap007
I'm a 23 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 29.
View Profile
ChatRouge
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 43.
View Profile
AGX
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 44.
View Profile
CC82
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Mianli
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 40.
View Profile
iamclassy
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 62.
View Profile
Lala_69
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 59.
View Profile
Diena_van_die_Eike
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 49 and 62.
View Profile
Liesie
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 45.
View Profile
Kosmos075
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
kristella
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
pesin15
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Kwarenina
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 42 and 52.
View Profile
HottFoxx
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 55.
View Profile
Blueyes_612
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 36 and 45.
View Profile
LuckyCharm_440
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 40.
View Profile
Graciousheart
I'm a 47 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 44 and 56.
View Profile
Sugababe
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 42.
View Profile
Viv42
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 55.
View Profile
KayBee75
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 49.
View Profile
Dreamer1987
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Lulu_101
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 45.
View Profile
Stiletto1
I'm a 53 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 57.
View Profile
kim2702
I'm a 46 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 50.
View Profile
Smarag
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 30.
View Profile
DaffodilTulip
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
Ldp123
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 44 and 58.
View Profile
Seagull12
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 40.
View Profile
Liefterdiefter
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 63.
View Profile
KarooBoereMeisie
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 40.
View Profile
Xtine
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 38.
View Profile
voelkos
I'm a 54 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 56.
View Profile
lenQ313
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 22 and 28.
View Profile
Charms1203
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
Gypsey4Life
I'm a 51 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 50 and 62.
View Profile
Isolabelle
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
profile01
I'm a 42 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 39 and 47.
View Profile
Believer001
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 45.
View Profile
Boulderhopper
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 38 and 50.
View Profile
thrillsandfrills
I'm a 40 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 41 and 45.
View Profile
Lvit2C
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 39.
View Profile
Lady66
I'm a 48 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 47 and 55.
View Profile
mystiqueZN
I'm a 29 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 27 and 45.
View Profile
ThisIsTheRemix
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 31 and 41.
View Profile
foxy583
I'm a 20 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 20 and 27.
View Profile
MustLoveDogz
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 33 and 43.
View Profile
molletdelvalles
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
ContagiousLaughter
I'm a 41 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 44.
View Profile
blom788
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
PhoenixLin
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 42.
View Profile
KaraatPlus
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 41 and 54.
View Profile
lookingsexy200
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
00butterflygirl00
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 36.
View Profile
AMy_303
I'm a 39 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
DelightfullyTipsy
I'm a 38 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 38.
View Profile
KiTella
I'm a 31 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 29 and 42.
View Profile
Gem24
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
AmaJ
I'm a 44 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 42 and 50.
View Profile
bluemon
I'm a 30 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Rietjie007
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 40 and 46.
View Profile
AngelBabe1
I'm a 27 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 39.
View Profile
Gem31
I'm a 24 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
devotedlady
I'm a 43 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 55.
View Profile
xine_414
I'm a 28 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
SATYNTJIE
I'm a 52 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
Athena
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 37 and 45.
View Profile
Belind4_M
I'm a 19 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 19 and 30.
View Profile
Stella143
I'm a 35 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
ioio
I'm a 37 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
HoopvolleToekoms
I'm a 32 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 32 and 39.
View Profile
LOVINGLIFE417
I'm a 45 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 43 and 50.
View Profile
chicky582
I'm a 25 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 30.
View Profile
dreamsoftly
I'm a 49 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 47 and 58.
View Profile
veldmuis007
I'm a 33 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
Softberry
I'm a 36 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 30 and 55.
View Profile
supe24
I'm a 34 year old woman looking to meet men between the ages of 35 and 65.
View Profile
heartroll
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 60.
View Profile
matiekat
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
CapeLover
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 41 and 50.
View Profile
cloudhopper
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Rumrun
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 44 and 56.
View Profile
skyandsand
I'm a 31 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Bushbaby210
I'm a 27 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 21 and 35.
View Profile
Romanticseb
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 57.
View Profile
Liefasb
I'm a 63 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 60.
View Profile
MOOLMAN
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 62.
View Profile
Rich_H
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 48.
View Profile
longingforu
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 38.
View Profile
B_B_B
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 45.
View Profile
MAN_BOU
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 75.
View Profile
cornrlius205
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
srchinluv
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 46 and 65.
View Profile
shadowwarrior
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 38 and 55.
View Profile
JustJve99
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 45.
View Profile
boersoekvrou14
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
waitingforgodot
I'm a 68 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 53 and 60.
View Profile
OldGoat4400
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 48.
View Profile
Rebelinbluejeans
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 62.
View Profile
Eugene053
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
tigercat
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 22 and 54.
View Profile
bellagio
I'm a 69 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
JONGKEREL
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 55.
View Profile
umustbsomewhere
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 55.
View Profile
Marley77
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
Jurrels
I'm a 44 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 34 and 45.
View Profile
TheDuke_99
I'm a 36 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 42.
View Profile
Pete_1
I'm a 70 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
LiveLifeAlways
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 33 and 41.
View Profile
MysticKitesurfer
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 27 and 36.
View Profile
Gster1
I'm a 64 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
Mark_tv
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Espavo
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 48.
View Profile
rossi46
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 55 and 65.
View Profile
LEO1982
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 40.
View Profile
WagOngeduldig
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Thebestone1
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 52.
View Profile
Cruisingoldie
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 50.
View Profile
ch_nb
I'm a 28 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 45.
View Profile
philip_unplugged514
I'm a 62 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 65.
View Profile
Summerstorm_007
I'm a 60 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 58.
View Profile
niemandsland
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 28 and 40.
View Profile
Boereman
I'm a 52 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 52.
View Profile
Kent123
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 60.
View Profile
Stressfree
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 52.
View Profile
Carden
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 30.
View Profile
audiess
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 39 and 64.
View Profile
letslook
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Virion
I'm a 30 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 33.
View Profile
koolstoof55
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 45 and 63.
View Profile
Dreamzzz
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 45.
View Profile
TheRealPeterPan
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 28 and 35.
View Profile
chester3
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 49 and 76.
View Profile
IceDad66
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
arew
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 55.
View Profile
Kawa1000
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 50.
View Profile
sailor_X897
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 60.
View Profile
big_guy_soft_heart
I'm a 43 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 42.
View Profile
Woody777
I'm a 50 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
oth1982
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
WanderingShadow
I'm a 39 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 20 and 40.
View Profile
Ben_57
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 42 and 55.
View Profile
saks001
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 47 and 59.
View Profile
FeaturedProfile
I'm a 54 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 40 and 54.
View Profile
Glorious_Quest
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 45.
View Profile
annns
I'm a 51 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 56.
View Profile
Geard1977
I'm a 37 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 27 and 38.
View Profile
50pluslooking
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 100.
View Profile
Btt76
I'm a 38 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 42.
View Profile
Fairtalk101
I'm a 46 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
WieEnWaar
I'm a 63 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 62.
View Profile
BobTheExtremeBuilder
I'm a 47 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 47.
View Profile
TheRisingSun
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
MAX_33
I'm a 55 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 33 and 53.
View Profile
Yinyani
I'm a 57 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 55.
View Profile
Free_Spirited
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 32 and 42.
View Profile
Soulsearcher72
I'm a 42 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 45.
View Profile
drurie
I'm a 66 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 60 and 66.
View Profile
Red_Red_Wine
I'm a 61 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 39 and 59.
View Profile
oldschool_romantic
I'm a 26 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 19 and 31.
View Profile
AJK1110
I'm a 59 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 55.
View Profile
GenuineJ
I'm a 64 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 64.
View Profile
Mfactor
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 40.
View Profile
DoctorSpin
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
Double_N
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet men between the ages of 25 and 50.
View Profile
maybe_111
I'm a 41 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 23 and 39.
View Profile
Determined_69
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 47.
View Profile
happymaker66
I'm a 48 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 45.
View Profile
Breukes
I'm a 35 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 26 and 35.
View Profile
Rick1508
I'm a 49 year old man looking to meet women aged 39.
View Profile
gentlebutcrazy
I'm a 58 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 35 and 55.
View Profile
QuietDreamer
I'm a 34 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 25 and 35.
View Profile
Tall_fun
I'm a 45 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 30 and 45.
View Profile
LoveFriendFirst123
I'm a 56 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 50 and 72.
View Profile
Lifechanger_7
I'm a 25 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 18 and 30.
View Profile
Stream_Net
I'm a 32 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 24 and 33.
View Profile
deeptime
I'm a 53 year old man looking to meet women between the ages of 48 and 58.
View Profile

Business Directory