THE provincial SAPS released a statement today expressing concern over the prevalence of rape and sexual abuse in the Eastern Cape, as well as highlighting progress made in assisting victims and strong sentences handed down to perpetrators.
“We have noted with concern the continuous incidents of rape reported across the province, especially our rural areas. The sexual abuse of women and children is indeed shocking and one must emphasize the role that alcohol and drugs play in the prevalence of these crimes,” the Provincial Commissioner of the Eastern Cape, Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga said.
The full statement of the SAPS provincial communications department follows:
In many instances young victims were left unattended or in the care of individuals who should never have been entrusted to take care of toddlers and children. Often victims make themselves extremely vulnerable by being under the influence of alcohol and then move very late at night between homes and drinking places. We have also had incidents of domestic violence where relationships had gone sour and the perpetrators then rape victims out of revenge. Then there are also cases where perpetrators sexually violate their victims because they cannot accept that their advances were not welcomed and refuse to take no for an answer.
It is indeed difficult for the SAPS to prevent these crimes from happening
The SAPS has prioritised sexual offences against women and children and it is heartening to report the positive progress which has been made in assisting victims of sexual crimes. Our detectives, attached to Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units (FCS) in the province are especially trained to investigate these type of cases and have all the necessary resources to focus on arresting perpetrators. SAPS forensic social workers as well as experts in the Departments of Social Development and Health assist our investigators to ensure that the best efforts are made to support survivors and ensure the conviction of perpetrators.
This is evident when we review the success rate of these units for the last financial year April 1 last year to March 31 this year. Life sentences were handed down to 117 perpetrators in 96 cases which total 602 years imprisonment for the perpetrators of these heinous crimes. The age of the victims range between 3-62 years and at least 43 of these victims were minors. We therefore, encourage victims of sexual crimes not to hesitate in laying charges against those who have abused or assaulted them.
It is indeed difficult for the SAPS to prevent these crimes from happening and we are continuing with with awareness campaigns in communities especially at schools. We request parents to make sure their children are always under good and trustworthy supervision. We are also calling on women not to make themselves vulnerable with the abuse of alcohol and to make smart decisions relating to their personal safety.
We would also like to call on communities to take care of the elderly especially those who are staying alone and to start community programmes such as elderly care groups which will assist with the safety of our elderly women. Also women should be careful not to befriend strangers when walking alone. If the person is persistent , attract the attention of others around you – one of the best defences is having people around you. Always keep family and friends aware of your whereabouts so that an alert can be made if you do not arrive at your destination.