Letter: Senseless crime of rape destroys kids’ innocence

On July 21, Judge Sithembele Mgxaji handed down a sentence of three life terms to Ntobeko Festile, 23, who raped a 10-year-old in a Uitenhage church yard. The judge should certainly be hailed as a hero in this cruel society which we live in and in South Africa where rape is just becoming a norm.

Many rapists get away with it, either through non-reporting, lost files, or just bad judgment on what rape and abuse does to women and the innocent children. There is also not enough support and empathy by the authorities so the victims feel despondent and don’t think they will get the help they need.

As the judge so rightly said, “rape is a very serious offence”. It should be equated to murder in that the victim’s soul has been murdered and ripped from her or his body. He added that “it is a humiliating, degrading and brutal invasion of the privacy and dignity of the victim” and most times the perpetrator feels nothing for his actions.

How many babies are raped by family members? These members should be jailed for life in isolation.

So why are so many rapists walking free? This judgment should be an example to other judges out there and should set a precedent for the seriousness of rape, and not allow it to become just a normal occurrence with the notion that people will get over it.

Last week’s news told of another little girl who had been lured away by someone and of her body that had been found. It’s unbearable to think what she had to endure.

I recently visited Kwaza Street in New Brighton and was saddened by the fact that there are two taverns in this street, next to and in between the homes where kids are playing and elderly people live. How do they live or sleep with the presence of many people frequenting these places allegedly either drugged or drunk, making noise and causing trouble?

Cars of patrons are parked outside the houses. Children should not be allowed to walk in these areas, but how else can they walk and when their yards are not always conducive for playing or properly secured?

To the newly elected councillors, could all these taverns be investigated and rooted out of these residential areas as these are the very causes of rape, abuse and murder in these communities? The townships should be such that people feel safe and proud of the neighbourhood they live in.

Parents, please take care to educate children about the dangers out there, but also be present parents and realise that grannies are not always able to fully take care of young kids who are free-spirited. Parents should be responsible and accountable as we are all aware of the circumstances of crime in the country.

We know these criminals are sitting on our doorsteps, so it’s not safe for a small child or even an adult to walk around at night.

Perpetrators of these horrendous crimes against women and children should really get the punishment this crime warrants, and we pray that the perpetrator of the little girl’s murder will be found and locked up for life.

My heartfelt sympathies to the parents of these children, whose joy and life has been destroyed by the selfish, violent and cruel tendencies of these men. Please let us work together to put these criminals behind bars and to assist our new mayor in making Nelson Mandela Bay the beautiful city it can be.

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