Lessons about abuse offered to learners in Katlehong

Lessons about abuse were offered to learners at Izibuko Primary School in Katlehong on Friday, June 23.

A special ceremony to teach learners about abuse was organised in line with Child Protection Month by non-profit organisation Ekupholeni Mental Health and Trauma Counselling (EMHTC).

Foundation Phase, including Grade R to Grade Three, was offered lessons separately according to their age while Grade Four to Grade Seven also received their lessons separately.

Different stakeholders including SAPS, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Department of Social Services (DoSS), Department of Health (DoH) and Metro Police were present to offer lessons to the learners.

Martha Radebe, programme manager of Gender-Based Violence programme that they run at EMHTC said the purpose of the day was to promote child protection.

“Child protection is supposed to happen 365 days a year, not only in June. We want to empower them with the knowledge they need to be safe. Sometimes they don’t even know if an adult does something wrong to them. With lessons offered today they are going to know what is wrong or right and how to react.

“Some don’t even know that being neglected is an abuse and that they can report those who do that to them,” said Radebe.

She said other people rape children and reward them so that they keep quite.

“With lessons given today, they will know how keeping quiet will affect them in future,” explained Radebe. She also said that they are empowering teachers too.

“Some of them do not know how to deal with an abused child. They can’t even tell if a child’s behaviour changes and that it is because of sexual related abuse,” she said.

Sam van der Grijp, a social worker at EMHTC, said they are encouraging and teaching children to help each other.

“You must tell each other if something wrong happened to you. It will be easy if you offload to your peer. Your friend can take you to the social worker and take it from there. Since you know each other very well as friends make sure you ask why if she doesn’t look okay. In that case you will quickly identify the problem and get immediate help for your friend,” said Sam.

Sarah Zikalala, from NPA, said both boys and girls can be victims of abuse.

“Our offices are based at Thuthuzela in hospitals. We work with abused children whether they are raped, neglected or physically abused. We even help in case of physical abuse between parents,” said Zikalala. She encouraged learners to report any abuse.

“It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened there is still a chance that a case can be opened.

“Report early so that you can prevent being infected with HIV and Aids,” Zikalala explained.

She said young people can be sent to juvenile jail if the rape can be proven against them.

Const Felicity Shabangu from SAPS said they need evidence to prosecute the perpetrators.

“The reason why some of the perpetrators don’t get put behind bars is because of the lack of evidence. If you have been raped do not bath because you will lose evidence. Just report to your parents immediately. If your parents do not listen tell your teacher or anyone you trust,” said Shabangu.

Speaking on behalf of the school, deputy principal Mbulawa Msimango, thanked EMHTC for running the programme at their school.

“The abuse rates are so high and I believe that they armed learners with the skills they need. They presented the issue of abuse in an interesting way. It was better that the lessons were delivered by different people and not the teachers that the learners are used to. I wish they can make it an annual event. Hoping that if they come again they can reduce the time to an hour for the concentration span of learners,” said Msimango.

Also Read: How to spot and prevent abuse

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