Johannesburg – Three Grade 7 boys have allegedly raped a girl in Grade 2 at a primary school in Randburg, Johannesburg police spokesperson Captain Walter Spencer has said.

Spencer said the incident happened on the school premises on April 4, Netwerk24 reported.

“A charge has been laid and the case will be heard in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court,” he said.

Gauteng education department acting spokesperson Oupa Bodibe says they are very concerned about the alleged attack.

“The school has initiated disciplinary action and has recommended that the boys be suspended,” he said. The department is considering the recommendation.

“All the pupils involved have been referred to the Teddy Bear clinic for counselling.”

Bodibe said the department does not tolerate sexual violence and “will not hesitate to take strict action if the accused are found guilty”.

“We ask all pupils to adhere to the school’s code of conduct. We also ask parents to help the department by making sure that their children remain disciplined.”

Experimentation

Spencer said the three boys were minors and have been released into the care of their parents while the investigation is underway.

“Minors are not arrested and there are specific programmes which they have to follow, as determined by the court,” said Spencer.

Professor Elda de Waal, an education expert from North West University’s Education and Human Rights in Diversity research unit at the Potchefstroom campus, says research has shown that Grade 7 boys are increasingly experimenting with younger children.

“It may often sound like something innocent, but it is highly upsetting.”

She said in some schools there could be Grade 7 pupils who are older, who don’t act like a typical 13-year-old Grade 7 pupil.

De Waal said the boys involved are obviously minors and this will be taken into account should they be found guilty.

They will have to be drastically managed by people trained to deal with issues such as this.

She said the boys’ typical defences would include: “Experimentation, we were inquisitive, she is our friend, we often play together, she just smiled, we didn’t want to be mean to her, and we didn’t hurt her.”

Your child and rape: 

De Waal said you have to talk to your child about it as soon as they can speak and raise questions regarding the issue.

“The moment your child has questions, talk about it. You tell your child everything you know. If your child asks a question you don’t know the answer to, say you’ll find out and then get back to them with the correct answer.”

When your child doesn’t talk and ask questions, you have to raise the issue before the child turns eight.

“As soon as he or she turns eight and hasn’t asked questions, you have to take it upon yourself to speak to your child, especially since children as young as nine these days already have a cellphone.”

She advises against giving your child a cellphone before discussing sex and sex-related topics.

“Children can be exposed to all sorts of information through cellphones and they won’t know how to process that information without the necessary guidance.”

When you have a discussion about sex with your child, you should not use nicknames when referring to their genitals.

“That is where problems start. Playmates discuss their genitals and realise that they each have a different name for it. Then they want to see why and then they experiment.”

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