A Grade 11 pupil at an Athlone high school who was threatened with rape after being dragged to the toilets must face her alleged attacker every day. File picture: Reuters
A Grade 11 pupil at an Athlone high school who was threatened with rape after being dragged to the toilets must face her alleged attacker every day. File picture: Reuters

Pupil who was threatened with rape at school is forced to face her attacker daily

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Jan 21, 2020

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Cape Town - A 17-year-old Grade 11 pupil at a high school in Athlone who was threatened with rape after being dragged to the toilets by a fellow pupil in November last year, must face her alleged attacker every day after the school and Education Department failed to suspend him

The incident so traumatised the girl that it impacted her exams and she could not write two of her final papers. The alleged assault was caught on the school’s CCTV cameras, her father said.

The 16-year old male pupil who allegedly assaulted her was said to have followed her from the stairs during school hours when he suddenly put his arm around her neck and pulled her around the corner into the girls’ bathroom, the father said.

The incident was apparently captured on CCTV cameras.

The female pupil said: “The boy told me that he was going to rape me in the bathroom as he pushed me into the cubicle. His friend that was with told him to leave me alone but then he said they should gang-rape me. After threatening me, he pushed me away from him before he walked out.”

She said that she spoke to her Life Orientation teacher the following day to explain what happened.

Western Cape Education Department (WCED) spokesperson Bronagh Hammond confirmed the incident.

“The school was made aware of the incident the following day. The parents of the pupil and the alleged perpetrator’s parents were informed immediately.”

An initial hearing was held with the school governing body, parents and the pupils in November last year.

The girl’s father, who cannot be named in order to protect his daughter, said: “We were hoping that this matter would have been solved before school closed last year but we still received no proper feedback from the school regarding taking it forward.

“I don’t think this incident was taken seriously enough because the boy is still at the school and was even put in the same class as her this year.”

He said that after they found out the alleged assailant and his daughter were in the same class yesterday, the school was contacted to remove her from that class. Many teachers may not have even have been aware of the incident. “We are not happy that he is still on the school premises because he can easily do it again.”

Hammond confirmed that the learners were subsequently separated. She said the department had arranged for a social worker to visit the school and meet with the alleged victim on a number of occasions.

“The alleged perpetrator was found guilty of misconduct and a recommendation for expulsion was put forward. The head of department will now make a decision based on the facts before him on whether to uphold the recommendation by the SGB to expel the learner,” said Hammond.

The girl’s father said he reported the incident to police and lodged an assault complaint.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said: ”The 16-year-old boy was arrested on charges of common assault, released into his parents care and is due to appear in the Athlone Magistrate Court on January 28.”

@Sukainaish

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Cape Argus

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