As a blogger and someone who posts on social media almost daily, there is sometimes a very fine line between sharing a post to create awareness and sharing a post that spreads negativity or bad vibes. I try to be cautious and selective and it is not my intention to share this post to flood your feed with yet another negative story. “A 2 year old girl raped whilst in isolation for COVID-19 at a Pretoria hospital.”
Let that sink in. A 2 year old girl raped. A 2 year old. She is a toddler. Helpless. Supposedly in a safe place that turned out not to be safe. My heart aches. I can’t even imagine what her family must be going through. From the moment I read this article, click here, I have been traumatized. It’s not the first of such to happen and we know about the ones we do, when we read about them. I can’t help but to wonder about the ones that don’t get reported.
I heard on a radio interview, that Dr Richard Lebethe, CEO – Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital did confirm that a report of rape at the hospital did take place. Investigations are underway between the hospital and the police. During this interview, there were also comments about how awful the process to have the case reported at the Police Station was. Officers at the time were saying that they’re changing shifts, etc.
I am deeply concerned – even though it is nothing new, about how we are still in this situation where innocent women and children are abused and we do not have the means and the resources to handle it in terms of the reporting process. It should be given urgent attention so that the perpetrator/s can be brought to justice. It should be given urgent attention to make the victims feel safe and heard!
I am also deeply concerned that a hospital is supposed to be a safe place but this wasn’t the case. Whilst it happened at this particular hospital, it could happen at any other. Why does something like this have to happen to check if security is adequate? Where were the staff on duty? I could go on asking these questions but I am not the investigator and it’s not going to change what has already happened.
Then why am I even posting about it?
I believe it’s important to create awareness. On my last shopping trip on a weekday, I was shocked at how people were just going on with life like normal. The mall was so busy, one would not guess that there is even a lockdown. I’ve seen comments on newspaper articles on social media of people treating COVID-19 like a joke! It’s not a joke! This is serious! Imagine if your child tests positive and has to isolate or be quarantined in a hospital that may not be safe and even if it is safe, how can you be at ease when you are away from your child!
I wonder, does it have to get to that for some people to realise the seriousness of this situation? If I sound upset, I am, but more than that, I am concerned and disappointed about the lack of precautions being taken by some, who have a don’t care attitude. That’s just regarding COVID-19. As if it’s not enough that we have to deal with COVID-19 but we also have to deal with rape and abuse.
In this article, (click here) a child was raped whilst she was on her way home, to fetch her mask from home which she forgot to take to school.
Rape. Assault. Abuse. All of these things seem to get worse. I don’t even have the words to express how I feel about this. I am not a person who usually uses swearwords in my vocabulary. The most I probably have sworn, is those you’ve seen on my blog posts. But these incidents have made me swear in my mind. They have made me angry as a woman, as a mother and as a citizen. What goes on in the mind of such people when they rape and abuse? I just don’t and never will fathom why or how the perpetrators could do the things they do.
Look after yourselves and your loved ones. Protect them. Don’t take anything for granted. If your child needs to go to school, send him or her with a mask, it’s a requirement. It’s a cruel world out there and do what you can to avoid becoming another victim or statistic. Avoid a situation as much as possible where you have to part with your child for either of you to be quarantined or in isolation away from a safe place like home.
Be careful about who you allow to your home, because sadly so, even home can become an unsafe place with people who cannot be trusted. Ensure you check up on your child at school. Ask questions to check if anything suspicious is happening. Prepare them ahead of the time on what do to, should anyone put them in an uncomfortable position. I personally do not feel that it’s “too early” for that conversation. I also feel that boys and not just girls should be aware of such.
Use instant messaging and online platforms to educate women, children and anyone else that could do with tips and advice on keeping safe. Reach out in whatever way you can. Every little bit of effort will make a difference.
COVID-19 has disrupted our routines, we have to now find alternate options for childcare, etc. Rape and abuse was there before COVID-19, but it’s now given the perpetrators an opportunity to prey on the weak and unattended.
Be careful. Take care. Stay safe. Protect yourself and your loved ones as best as you possibly can. If you have any ideas or suggestions on what you think we can do collectively to make a positive impact in terms of education and awareness, please feel free to contact me. If you are a victim and would like to share your story to send a message to others, even anonymously, through my blog, do feel welcome to contact me.