On Special Assignment this Tuesday:
Episode Title: Prelude For A Paedophile
Date: Tuesday, 3 June, 2008
Channel: SABC 3
Last week was Child Protection week but in South Africa the term child protection has become a tragic contradiction in terms, particularly with regard to sexual abuse.
According to Childline one in four girls and one in five boys under the age of 16 have been sexually assaulted. This is inevitably a conservative estimate given the horrifyingly low rate of reports.
The recent passing of the Amended Sexual Offences Act has succeeded in broadening the definition of rape to include penetration of any orifice, male or female. Previously, rape of males was regarded as indecent assault and carried a much lighter sentence but the reality is that everyday on the streets of Cape Town, young boys are being raped and underage survivors rarely speak out. They are silenced by shame and disbelieving adults.
The injustice is compounded when the victims are boys who live on the streets and the perpetrators are men who are educated, ostensibly respected members of society.
This week Special Assignment exposes a sexual predator allegedly with a predilection for underage street boys. His strategy allegedly is to drive through areas where the homeless boys congregate to lure them with promises of food, clothing or cash.
Often he solicits the assistance of older male prostitutes to recruit the youngsters, allegedly taking them to his home to ply them with drugs while showing them pornography before sexually abusing them.
Alternatively he allegedly cruises the streets of Cape Town, picks them up and drives them to remote areas, abuses them and then unceremoniously dumps them - most of them between the ages of eleven and fifteen.
In the past two years at least seven boys have come forward. They have made statements to the police, the details of which have been verified by security companies operating in Cape Town’s CBD. Yet for two years, little has been done to apprehend the alleged offender, possibly because police resources are increasingly limited; more disturbingly, because they are reluctant to charge an adult of stature whose accusers are children of the streets.
With the assistance of committed children’s rights activists, Special Assignment has searched for and found the children, persuading them to speak openly about the trauma of being raped.
Prelude For A Paedophile is written and produced by Hazel Friedman.