School gang rape victim severely injured
Pretoria - The damage inflicted on the internal genital organs of the 9-year-old girl from Lethabong informal settlement, raped allegedly by a group of older boys, was too much for her little body – she would need a lot of treatment and therapy to heal, doctors have told her mother.
The brave face the girl puts on as she goes about her daily life breaks her mother’s heart. “She is outside playing with other children right now and she hasn’t complained even once about the pain,” the sad mother said on Wednesday.
Her daughter and another girl had been examined for possible evidence of rape by a doctor on Tuesday, after the father of the other girl raised the alarm and notified police of the incident, three weeks ago.
The girls and two others are alleged to have been tied up and gang raped by a group of older boys on the grounds of Kutumela Molefe Primary School after school. The girls did not report it to anyone after the boys threatened to kill them if they did.
But the mother said she had noticed something was amiss in the way her child had been walking.
“I asked her and she mumbled something in response, but because I did not suspect anything, I left it at that.”
But when the other child came to visit on Saturday she mentioned that something “bad” had happened to them, prompting the mother to notify the other parent and then going to the school to confront the principal the following week.
“He promised to deal with the matter. In fact, he took out his phone and said he was calling the police and then told me to go home and wait for him to call me,” she said.
She had heard nothing until the father of her daughter’s friend came around asking questions, and eventually asking her to get her child ready for a trip to the doctor.
The other children were away for the school holidays.
“The doctor said what he had found inside her was bad. She was badly injured and would require treatment for a while,” she sobbed.
The children had been given medication to take home.
School principal Esau Matlala insisted that he had reported the matter to the police two weeks ago, telling the Pretoria News he had even called social workers in to assist in investigations.
“They are in my care, why would I let it go?” he asked.
But police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the police would have acted immediately on a case so critical and would not have waited for two weeks.
The Boschkop child protection unit responded on Tuesday when the father called for their intervention, taking the children in for the check-up and opening a case.
The police had started their investigation by Wednesday morning and none of the boys – allegedly aged between 14 and 16 – had been arrested yet.
The school had not contacted the parents, nor made any attempt to enquire about the outcome of the hospital visit on Wednesday. “They do not care, really,” the father said.
The Department of Education undertook to investigate the matter and the conduct of the principal. Social workers will provide counselling to the affected children.
The local church will assist the parents in coping with the abuse of their children. “The pain that I feel is beyond anything I have ever known,” the mother of the little girl said. She admitted to being confused and not knowing what to do when the schools re-open, fearing a possible confrontation between her daughter and the alleged culprits.