File photo: Independent Media
Johannesburg - The father of a Grade 2 Blairgowrie pupil who was raped by three Grade 7 boys at school has revealed how his family lived on the same property as one of the accused - and that this may not have been the first time his daughter was allegedly sexually assaulted.

While trying to deal with their ordeal, the family were kicked out of their rented home.

The IR Griffith Primary School was left reeling in April when it was revealed that the child was allegedly lured into the boys' bathroom and subsequently attacked.

The child complained of genital pain to her parents and was taken to a doctor, where it was confirmed she had been raped.

The rape was revealed publicly only in May, after the Gauteng Department of Education intervened.

The distraught father revealed this week how, when the three boys were suspended, his landlord and wife had become aggressive, telling the family they needed to move off the property.

“He (the landlord) said I shouldn’t have taken the issue to the police, that we should have just talked.”

In 2016, he had a similar conversation with his landlord, after the same son had allegedly sexually assaulted his child, while she was in Grade 1.

The parents had allegedly asked him not to report the matter to the police, which he agreed to do.

The father told the Saturday Star that his daughter had not been the same since the latest attack. “She has changed I’m very worried this might destroy her future.”

He was also concerned that it had taken so long for the counselling processes to start. The school governing body and child protection service, the Teddy Bear Clinic, had now been brought in to help the child, and all others involved.

Dr Shaheda Omar, director at the clinic, said she had met with the parents of the young girl and counselling with her and her parents was set to start next week.

She also met with the school’s principal last weekend, where the process to find any other potential victims or those traumatised by the attack had started.

Teachers at the school would also look for any other signs of abuse or trauma, and provide protection services.

“The intervention at this school is going to be on many levels,” she said.

The reason for the delay in counselling, she explained, was that the clinic first had to go through the school. Immediate counselling directly after the incident would have been less effective.

However, the family are still struggling to find a new home they can afford after they were kicked out.

The father works as a gardener, and while his wife has a job as a domestic worker, her part-time job looks set to end as her employers are moving to Cape Town.

The three boys, aged between 12 and 14, appeared at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court in May and were released into the custody of their parents. Their proceedings are set to continue on July 18.

On Friday, a charity drive in Northcliff, organised by resident Felicia Scott Alberts, resulted in numerous gifts, stationery and cash donations delivered to the family. She had asked local residents to donate “even a can of beans or a bar of soap as every single tiny bit would help this family”.

In an emotional Facebook post earlier this week, she wrote of how she was moved by the family’s “heartbreaking” plight.

“This man is the most amazing and humble person. His only concern is his daughter and all he wants is her to be safe and to get the education he never did.

“The father is living in fear for his child and does not want to be far from her at any time, but she needs to go to school, which she is.”

However, according to Alberts, the family were still trying to find affordable accommodation in the Blairgowrie area.

She thanked the members of Facebook pages, I Love Northcliff and I Love Randburg, for the generous donations she had received.

*If you would like to help the family, contact [email protected]

Saturday Star