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Categories: Buddy and Me
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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).
To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.
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I woke to a beautiful clear sky and knew immediately that ‘Buddy and Me’ were in for another scorcher of a day, but rather the heat than the rain. After thanking Greg for his kind hospitality and friendship, I drove out of Dundee on the road to Ladysmith and once again thoroughly enjoyed the drive through the lush green rolling hills of Kwa-Zulu Natal.
At the Beares store in Ladysmith I was greeted by a large group of individuals from the police and other local organisations as well as interested community members. Our discussion went on for almost 2 hours and comments made by the police and other community members clearly confirm that I am on the right track with regard to my proposal for a solution to child rape.
The two senior officers present, a Lady Superintendent Ntembu and Captain Amil Ramdini (a guy) once again convinced me that there are at least a few dedicated and professional police officers in the South African Police Services. The good Captain confirmed that rape in general is in creasing at a rapid rate and that the ‘powers that be’ in the police force desperately need to re-instate the FCS unit with a specialised child protection unit attached.
One of the topics which was discussed, was the topic of discussion I had with the two ladies from the Dundee Adult Centre – Home for the Intellectually Disabled yesterday and which I said in yesterdays blog I would write about today.
This is with regard to the fact that a major campaign needs to be undertaken to educate mothers about the severe trauma associated with child and toddler/baby rape. While on the first project, I was contacted by a psychologist who invited me to meet “two ladies who had been subjected to the trauma of toddler rape and were at the time of contacting me aged 25 and 28 years of age”. He told me that he had been counselling them for a number of years and that he was sure I would be interested in the cases.
Quite honestly the trauma I personally suffered at being introduced to the two “young ladies” affected me for quite sometime afterwards and I still find myself asking professionals I meet along my route if this is in fact possible, and that is exactly what I did with Annetjie and Chrissie yesterday at the Dundee Adult Centre for the Intellectually Disabled. The two “young ladies” I was introduced to were in mind and body no more than two or maybe two and a half years old. The psychologist explained to me that the trauma associated with the rape of both babies was so severe that the mind/brain had snapped and both remained “babies’ from then on.
He went on to explain that he was adamant that as high as 85% of the, particularly woman but there are many men as well, who are in our institutions for the mentally impaired, were not born that way but were trauma victims of baby/toddler and child rape. He further explained that in some cases, such as the ‘two young Ladies” I met, the effects of the mental trauma is immediate, however sometimes this can take a ‘while’ to surface which results in the cause being blamed on other social factors.
Annetjie and Chrissie confirmed that this is definitely the case and that they in fact have a few residents who were victims of child rape and who have suffered severe mental trauma as a result of it. They also confirmed that one resident, an adult lady (mother), had walked in on her husband raping their young daughter and the severe trauma associated with that resulted in her being admitted to the institution.
When we consider the facts of the report released in the press by Solidarity in July 2009 which reflected that South Africa is currently experiencing around 580 child rape cases on a daily basis, and coupled with the fact that only 15 – 18% of these are being reported, which computes to the fact that almost 500 children who are being raped on a daily basis are being forced to live with the trauma and are being deprived of the vital support and counselling needed to help them through the ordeal. In fact it equates to almost 500 walking time bombs being created in South Africa on a daily basis.
Based on this equation, Government has one of two vital decisions to make. Based on the fact that Government promulgated an Act of law in the form the ‘Sexual Offences Act 32 of 2007’ which states that “Any person who is aware of, or is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually abused and who fails to report it to the authorities, shall be guilty of an offence and punishable by law”, the State must, either:
Ensure that when the mothers report the rape of their children by fathers and other family members, are provided with full support in the form of food and clothing for the family, education for the children, and assistance with regard to finding her employment to ensure that she, as soon as possible, is in a financial situation to look after the family herself
Start enforcing the law to the letter in which case they might be looked upon by the South Africa communities, woman in particular, as being “baddies”
But the one thing that is perfectly clear, is the fact that they have to do something very fast.
I was asked to give a message to the woman of South Africa during the 16 days of activism by a newspaper reporter, and when I said I did not think I should because woman around South Africa might not like what I had to say to them, but she insisted and I received a few nasty comments following my message, but this is what it was:
To the ladies of South Africa. Ladies I am afraid I have no sympathy for the fact that you are being abused by husbands and boyfriends. The reason for my saying this is the fact that you don’t have any sympathy for your own children not to mention yourselves. You are not reporting the rape and abuse of your children and yourselves and are, in so doing, allowing these savages to escape unscathed. It is time YOU did something about it and stop merely looking for sympathy. It’s only you who can bring a stop to the rape and abuse of our countries children and the abuse of yourselves. If you don’t report it and allow the police and justice department to do their jobs this madness will never be stopped. When you make a stance every ‘man’ in the country will support you, so make a stance NOW!
So ladies please, before you start sending me nasty emails, please read my message again, carefully.
Then it was off to Harrismith and although it was only 73 kilometres away it took ‘Buddy and Me’ 1 hour and 50 minutes to cover the distance. The main reason for this, apart from the fact that we don’t usually travel much faster than around 80 kilometres an hour, we had the mighty ‘Van Reenan’s Pass’ to contend with as well as a number of other steep inclines associated with the Drakensburg Mountain Range to contend with. But we arrived at the Beares store in Harrismith on time and had time to have a brief chat with the staff before I was bustled off to the local Detective offices to have a really interesting chat with a senior officer who I don’t think I will identify for reasons associated with the telephone call I received last Thursday.
According to him, one of the biggest problems related to the pathetically low conviction rates is definitely the fact that the prosecutors are not adequately experienced and trained to take on the defence councils appointed and paid for by the State. Evidently the norm at the Harrismith court is that 3 out of 4 prosecutors are temps with very little experience. The other major gripe is the fact that once the court role hits 200 to 250 cases, cases are withdrawn for pathetic reasons.
I was also told that rape cases, as in all ages, are on a massive increase, although many cases involving particularly teenagers and young prostitutes make a mockery of the statistics, these being cases where young girls don’t get paid for their ‘services’ and then scream rape.
I was told that the police force, sorry police services, is in an absolute shambles, this being due to continues restructuring and closing of departments and opening of others with no consideration being given to the consequences of the changes. This has resulted in the moral of the police service plummeting to a very low level. It was also confirmed in our discussion that the cases involving child offenders in all aspects of crime is climbing at an alarming rate and this is attributed to the fact that kids are literally getting away with murder and not being held accountable and responsible for their actions.
And then the biggest gripe of all, the fact that even after a police officer has told the court that the suspect is wanted for serious crimes in three other areas he is granted bail which then results in four police stations once again starting their hunt for the culprit!
My interview with this particular police officer revealed that things are really bad in our police services and that something needs to be done extremely fast to restore the moral of the members of the service if they hope to maintain law and order during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
At five o’clock it was time to bid the great guys and girls of Beares Harrismith farewell and follow Round Tabler De Wet Van Deventer to the local pub for a relaxing frosty and then go on to the Round Table club house where I got to meet a few of the other Tablers of RT 140
At the club house the guys and ladies of RT 140 were busy planning the forthcoming stage show called “Memories’ which is due to take to the stage, as in the Harrismith Town hall, I think in March, but I will get confirmation of that and put it in tomorrows blog.
My hosts for the night are a lovely couple, Anton and Liezl De Vos and when we arrived ‘home’ (for me home being where I lay my head at night) Anton insisted on pinning me with yet another pin, this time a highly sort after pin of which there are only 20 in South Africa, and this is a Round Table Harrismith ‘Fishing Bonanza’ pin.
And so ended my day in Harrismith, I must admit that I really appreciated the “early night, it’s now, can you believe it, 10:35 and I have finished my blog, although I must admit that I started it while in the beares store waiting for De Wet and managed to get about 80 % of it finished, but I’m really going to enjoy a good nights sleep tonight.
So from ‘Buddy and Me’ I will wish you a good night, and keep all children safe. Oh by the way my grandson Dain is still in hospital, he has been moved to the ‘High Care’ unit but they have at least diagnosed the problem, which is a virus which is eating up the iron in his system at a terrible rate. The iron levels in his body is supposed to be between 17 and 25 and his is 1.3, but hopefully now the medication will start rectifying the problem and I will be praying that there is a significant improvement in him by tomorrow morning.
Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
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