Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page


I don't think they [the school administration] really know how it affects us. Maybe to them it is just a big joke-but to me-it is not to me. I was not laughing or playing. It's not a joke or game-it really bothers me.

MZ, age seventeen, sexually assaulted at school

Girls described a persistent response pattern whereby schools discounted their reports of sexual violence and harassment or failed to respond with any degree of seriousness. Girls were discouraged from reporting abuse to school officials for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the hostile and indifferent responses they received from their school communities. Sometimes school officials appear to have failed to respond adequately because they simply did not know what to do; other times they ignored the problem; still other times they appear to have been afraid to assist. In many instances, schools actively discouraged victims of school-based gender violence from alerting anyone outside the school or accessing the justice system. In the worst cases, school officials concealed the existence of violence at their schools and failed to cooperate fully with authorities outside the school system.
The sad consequence of such responses is that the problem is often placed squarely on the shoulders of girls. Many girls have come to accept that sexual violence and harassment simply must be endured if they are attending school. The failure of school authorities to respond allows perpetrators of gender violence to act with impunity and reinforces sex discrimination in schools. By contrast, when schools responded to girls who reported abuse by supporting them, investigating their claims, and confronting their attackers, girls reported feeling safe and empowered.

Barriers to Reporting Abuse
The difficulty girls face in reporting abuse is the first barrier school officials must overcome in order to adequately respond to the problem of sexual violence. Many opportunities to intervene and prevent escalation of certain behaviors into violence are missed because girls for a variety of reasons fail to report sexual violence. Girls told Human Rights Watch that after they reported abuse not only were they not supported, they were ridiculed and became the object of vicious rumors at their schools. Many girls said they were afraid to

pursue their complaints for fear of further violence; other girls simply felt reporting would be futile.
Fear is a major factor affecting whether or not a girl will report abuse. Many children are afraid to come forward or disclose when teachers abuse them because teachers use violence and threats of violence to intimidate children into silence. MN, fifteen years old, phoned Childline in September 1999 to report that her teacher had been sexually abusing her. The intake operator summarized the call as follows.

Caller's teacher abuses her. Always orders her to remain behind for maths...then follows to abuse her. Caller couldn't tell someone, teacher said nobody will believe her. Only her friend knows about this. Caller feels sad, scared and confused.205

A mother called Childline in August 1997 to report that her daughter had been sexually abused at school by a trainee teacher and that she struggled to help her child overcome her fears of disclosing the abuse. The call record notes:

Mother called re her child [who] was being sexually abused by a student teacher. [M]other did complain to the principal and she was requested to write a letter which will be sent to the department. [The teacher] scolded her [the child] and threatened to hit her. [N]ow the child is afraid to give any further details. Mom wanted to know if it will be okay for the child to call one of the counselors.206

Experts and social workers we interviewed told us that teachers use their status and authority to intimidate children into sexual relations.207 Fear keeps many children quiet about abuse, one social worker explained:

Sex abuse by teachers is there, it just goes unreported. People look up to teachers. Even if a child knows it's wrong, they are confused. If I tell-the teacher may fail me or hit me. Corporal punishment remains a problem in schools. Kids fear that they won't be believed and fear what may happen to them if they tell.208

Similarly, most girls do not complain about the bulk of abuse inflicted on them by male classmates because, as one girl explained, "girls are too shy or too scared to speak up."209 Girls are not only afraid of continued violence, but also the negative reactions of their peers. When two classmates sexually assaulted seventeen-year-old MZ, a girl attending a Durban metropolitan area high school, she bravely alerted school authorities, putting aside peer pressure not to speak out, but later questioned her decision and even felt she had to justify her decision to speak out to her friends. MZ explained: "My friend didn't even want to report it. She said it was no big deal. Others thought so too. It's not affected us in the same way, she's over it. She says they were drunk and we should just forget about it-but I can't forget."210 Although the two students sexually assaulted several girls at school that day, MZ was the only one who came forward. "I can't say my friends have been supportive, but I am coping."211
Some girls who did report abuse to school officials said they feared violent retaliation from their attackers and, feeling powerless, chose not to press their claims. A seventeen-year-old girl who elected not to pursue formal charges against her classmates after an attempted rape because she feared them explained: "The teacher asked me if she could tell the police. I told her that they'll be expelled and they'll wait at the bus and do something bad to me because of me they'll have been expelled. So I'll just forgive them. So we just made the case dissolve."212 She accepted having little control over the situation because she could not confront the boys on their terms, explaining her decision to Human Rights Watch: "They apologized and I told them I forgive them. I must forgive them. There is no choice. I didn't want to forgive them. Because I'm a girl I can't fight them." Having learned submission as a survival skill and accepting that no one could keep her safe, MB simply took it as her place as a girl to be the object of violence.
Counselors assisting child victims of sexual abuse maintain that the way girls are treated after a rape or sexual assault by their peers, teachers, school officials, and sometimes even their friends and family, is the reason why most attacks go unreported.213 Girls feel they are not valued when they perceive attacks against them are not taken seriously by school administrators. The lack of proportionality in the punishment of attacks emboldens students who would perpetrate violence against others.
The silence surrounding sexual violence for many girls grows into a resigned acceptance that unwanted and unwelcome sexual behaviors simply must be endured in educational settings. Girls learn to acquiesce to the violence because often they receive little support from their peers at school or from school officials.

Indifferent or Inadequate Response
The abuse girls experience at school is often magnified by the reactions they receive when they report abuse to school officials. Girls who did report abuse told Human Rights Watch that school officials responded with indifference, disbelief, and hostility. Schools that do not take sexual violence and harassment seriously provide support for those who would commit violence against girls.
Many girls feel it is of little use to report problems, having learned that in most instances little or nothing will be done to their male classmates by school authorities, so the abuse continues. One girl explained: "They [boys who abuse] are happy to stay home. They enjoy being suspended, it's their favorite thing. By doing something stupid at school they have a free day off and in the end they just come back and do the same thing again anyway."214 Another girl expressed her frustration about the futility of speaking out; "I don't report anything anymore. I feel it's unnecessary. I'm just wasting my time."215
Dissatisfied with her school's response to her sexual assault complaint, MZ told Human Rights Watch that she questioned her decision to come forward. Contemplating whether she had done the right thing by bringing the incident to the attention to school administrators, MZ said: "I don't know, maybe, I'm still trying to figure out what to do. I wanted to show them that they can't get away with everything. I think more should have been done to them after what they did. If there was something I could do, I'd have done it long ago."216
AC, a fourteen-year-old pupil at a school in Mitchell's Plain, near Cape Town, no longer questions whether she should report violence to school officials. As she told Human Rights Watch, she knows better than to bother. AC felt her concerns were simply disregarded by school administrators when she complained to a school official about being beaten up by a boy in class after "talking back to him."

I left class and went to the principal's office and told. The principal told me to "go back to class and bring the boy here to the office." I went back to class and told him the principal wanted to see him, but he didn't come. So I went back to the principal's office. He told me to go back and tell him he'd be expelled if he didn't come to the office. So finally he came, and all the principal told him was "stop-if you're beating girls already you'll grow up to beat your wife." He didn't get detention. Nothing. I don't report anything anymore. I feel it's unnecessary. I'm just wasting my time.217

AC is not so much afraid of violence as she is resigned that it is simply a reality of her education experience.
Girls reported that unwanted, controlling, abusive, and humiliating interactions including sexual assault and harassment are still viewed as a game by some boys, and not taken seriously by school authorities.218 One fifteen-year-old student told Human Rights Watch that boys treated sexual harassment as a game: "When you tell them to `stop', when you say `no,' they are just laughing and keep on doing the same thing."219
When boys are confronted by school officials with allegations of sexual assault, girls repeatedly said that boys will claim they were just `joking' or `playing,' and then expect the explanation to suffice. Too often it does. One seventeen-year-old girl told Human Rights Watch about the reaction of her classmates when confronted by her allegations of attempted rape: "I told a teacher about what happened...They told the teacher they were just playing. But they weren't just playing because they were serious. They weren't playing when they were hitting me and ripping my clothes."220 Her attackers were not disciplined.
Human Rights Watch did meet with one school official who asserted that he responded promptly and decisively to the problems of sexual violence and harassment in his school. He told us that the school had gone so far as to recently suspend two boys who sexually assaulted female students. The school granted our request to interview one of the students assaulted, seventeen-year-old MZ. She confirmed that the school had in fact suspended the two boys who attacked her-but for only three days. MZ did not feel that she was taken seriously after she reported the incident, nor did she feel the school's response was sufficient. The action was not enough to make MZ feel better, as she still must confront her attackers every day at school: "They are back here right now-when I see them I feel like vomiting. They aren't in matric so they'll be around for some time."221
In other cases, schools may not respond at all. An anonymous boy called Childline in July 1997 on behalf of his sister to report that a teacher was sexually abusing her at her school in Chatsworth.222 Instead of expressing concern when confronted with allegations by a Childline counselor, the school gave no credence to the charge. The investigating counselor noted: "I called the school. Spoke to the principal, he laughed at the allegations-because the alleged perpetrator is the vice-principal of the school."223

Ostracizing and Marginalizing Victims

When [MC] went through hell at school that made it easier for me to come forward [to police] because I knew I wasn't the only one. I thought if you're the only one it is your word against his.

PC, age fifteen

The injury does not end with the assault for girls who report or speak out against violence. Girls fear ridicule and rejection by the school community. When girls come forward, they are often ridiculed and rejected by their peers, male and female alike. For instance, the boys who were alleged to have raped thirteen-year-old WH would tease her at school. Other students would call her "liar." After WH brought charges against her rapists, she told Human Rights Watch that "All the people who I thought were my friends had turned against me."224 WH's mother told Human Rights Watch that other students would call their home and harass her daughter. WH's teacher allegedly spread rumors about WH and the merits of the case against the boys.225 WH felt cast out by the school administration while no action was taken by the school against the alleged perpetrators.
A recently retired teacher explained that in her experience schools do not aid victims of violence: "Schools find sexual abuse embarrassing and oftentimes will attempt to sweep it under the carpet. The survivor is left to swim or sink, there are no support structures designed to assist. The victim runs a risk of not being believed, ostracized, or being ridiculed."226 Often the hostility is severe enough for children to simply drop their allegations, one social worker explained:

I had a case of a series of girls who were being fondled at school by a teacher. Two girls spoke up, but then one withdrew her complaint. The other child received no support from the other teachers or the school community. It's too much for a child to pursue alone. In the end the teacher responded: "she's just accusing me because she has a crush on me."227

Girls also reported that their classmates and sometimes school officials ridiculed and rejected them after they came forward and schools did nothing to intervene.

Lack of Procedures and Ignorance of Existing Policy
Human Rights Watch interviewed South African teachers, school principals, education policy experts, and social workers concerning policies to address sexual violence in schools. They uniformly said they were unaware of any standard procedural guidelines provided to schools by the national or provincial education departments on how schools should treat those who are accused of sexual violence or harassment or accommodate victims of sexual violence in their schools. Human Rights Watch contacted the national Department of Education and the provincial departments of areas where we documented abuses to inquire about gender violence policies. We were unable to obtain a copy of any policy guidelines specifically addressing the problem of sexual violence in schools from the national department. Only the Western Cape education department responded that it was nearing completion of a gender violence policy.
School employees Human Rights Watch interviewed complained that they had not received procedures or guidance about how to address gender violence in their schools and called for increased assistance on the issue. One consultant working with the Western Cape education department and counseling adolescent rape victims in the area observed: "Teachers haven't been prepared for it, schools don't know how to handle it, and above all schools don't want their name tarnished."228 Emphasizing the need for expanded training on sexual violence issues, a teacher from Mitchell's Plain agreed: "We're not equipped, but I just go on my instincts. There's no guidance."229 While the instincts of some teachers are better than others, a girl's safety at school should not depend on a teacher's instincts, but rather on clear procedures to address complaints of sexual violence.
A vice principal of a school in Cato Manor, near Durban, also told Human Rights Watch that her school lacked procedures, "No, we weren't given a procedure on how to deal with abuse from the Department of Education."230 A former teacher who had worked in five different schools over a period of fourteen years in KwaZulu-Natal summed up the situation in her experience as follows:

In black schools in the townships, there is definitely no formal effort to evaluate the problem. At times it is not even viewed as a problem worthy of attention at all. In some areas it is seen as a great privilege for a child to be at school at all. There are far more urgent issues to worry about such as shelter and food than to be worried about children's rights. So there are no standard procedures for reporting abuse. Pupils, should they be brave enough, will approach any teacher on the issue, like they would on any other issue, and it may be ignored.231

Students are also without guidance. Schools have made few efforts to inform children and parents of their rights and the responsibilities of their school in developmentally appropriate language.
The lack of a broadly disseminated policy on sexual violence has resulted in considerable confusion among school management on how to confront the problem. Some teachers expressed a desire to help their students, but felt they could not or did not know how to do so. Misconceptions abounded about what a school could or should do to prevent, investigate and punish sexual violence. For example, one educator was under the impression that "if a parent doesn't want to go to police [about a rape] there is nothing we can do because these things occur. I don't think we can do anything [to the accused] until he's proven guilty, we cannot just expel or suspend him because the parents can sue us."232 Because of the failure of the national and provincial education departments to promptly establish and to broadly disseminate a comprehensive policy or procedural guidelines, gaps remain in efforts to prevent, investigate, and punish sexual violence in schools.
Some key problems we identified associated with the lack of a widely disseminated and actively enforced policy to end sexual violence and harassment of girls at school include: victims remain in classes with offenders and are ostracized and ridiculed by other students; victims leave school due to the hostile environment and indifference to their needs after assault; offending teachers and students are not disciplined or prosecuted; teachers who have repeatedly engaged in sexual misconduct with underage children are not barred from the profession; there is no reliable measure of the extent of sexual violence and harassment in schools; and there is no accountability when schools allowed gender violence to occur unchallenged or concealed instances of abuse.

Fear of Getting Involved

The teachers are scared. I can see it, there is a genuine threat to them, it is not a perceived thing. You may have seventeen to nineteen-year-olds with firearms running the school.

Prosecutor, Durban

Everyone is scared for themselves. If you try and take things up you may find yourself in big trouble.

Teacher, township near Johannesburg

Aside from the absence of guidelines on sexual violence, fear for their own safety may sometimes hinder school officials from responding to student complaints. Violence in schools may pose risks for teachers as well as students.233 Viewing schools as prime places for recruiting new members and selling drugs, violent gangs frequently infiltrate schools.234 Teachers told Human Rights Watch that gang-affiliated students carry weapons to school, challenge school officials, and undermine teachers. Gang-affiliated students may also carry their conflicts with them, posing risks to everyone at school. A Mitchell's Plain teacher told us of the difficulties presented by a student in her class who was believed to be involved in an area gang shooting, "There were rumors that there would be a retaliation hit against [the student], and he sits in my class endangering all the others. I am scared of becoming a casualty."235 In some areas, teachers are simply afraid for their own safety and fear prevents them from intervening to help their students.
Fear of violent retaliation has stopped one township teacher outside Johannesburg from reporting any student crime to police, after she was personally threatened. She told Human Rights Watch that her school has decided to place the burden of bringing complaints of violence to the police on students: "For us to be safe as individual teachers, the student victim must report the case on her own. I advise kids to go to the police."236

Shielding Perpetrators and Concealing Abuse

If the abuser is from outside [school], then schools are very supportive, they'll even bring the child in to see us [at Childline counseling center]. But there's a lot of defensiveness if the accused is a teacher, then it becomes the child is lying, or it was a seductive child, or the child wanted it.

Andrea Engelbrecht, Childline counselor

Schools have done nothing about it. Teachers who abuse have been transferred to other schools. Most often, that will happen if anything happens at all to the teacher.

Rachel Jewkes, Acting Director, Women's Health Research Unit, Medical Research Council

Despite statutory obligations to report child abuse,237 when a school employee is accused of committing sexual assault, a common response of school officials is to try to keep the problem within the school community by concealing the existence of abuse and shielding from scrutiny those alleged to have committed acts of sexual violence. Schools often appear to identify criminal conviction as the only point at which an alleged perpetrator should be separated from his victim, through suspension, expulsion, or dismissal from employment. However, in most instances of sexual violence a conviction is not likely.
The case of MC, described above in chapter V, is illustrative. Although MC's parents complained to the school about the teacher, the school failed to contact police and the teacher remained on the job. The principal of MC's school allegedly told her parents not to alert the police to the sexual abuse occurring at the school.238 MC's mother described her meeting with the school to Human Rights Watch:

We met with the principal. I told him "my daughter has been raped by one of your teachers." I asked what the school intended to do? What should I do? And I told them I was going to go to the police. The Principal said "don't go to the police until we can talk to the school's lawyer to determine what to do. Don't do anything until we can go to the school board to get this cleared up." He told me "you should not do anything until we talk to the school lawyer, you mustn't go to the CPU [police Child Protection Unit] until the school board can sort out what the school is to do."239

The school did nothing to sanction the teacher or to help the child. The teacher continued in his teaching duties at the school long after MC's parents confronted the school about the rape, leaving MC and other girls vulnerable to his further abuse.240 In this instance, because several schools had similarly opted in the past to conceal this teacher's conduct rather than initiate administrative action against him or report him to police, he remained free to go on to different schools and new children, abusing his authority and taking advantage of their trust. The teacher had previously been permitted to resign without censure from another school where he taught, after similar incidents were reported against him.

One counselor, working on the case of a girl who had allegedly been raped by a school caretaker, told Human Rights Watch that generally it is not that school officials do not know what action to take, but rather that "basically schools are covering their butts-schools are being run as businesses. Funding is dependent on enrollment. Bad publicity would be bad. Most teachers have the attitude, `let's keep away' or `let's not get involved' or `it can't be happening at our school.'"241 She explained her frustrations with what she perceived to be a school's evasiveness in one of her current cases: "I went with the girl's mother to speak with the principal. The principal would not even acknowledge the possibility that the rape had happened, and the medical evidence has shown that an adult sexually abused the child. I told him-`if this man is the perpetrator in this case you are putting other kids at risk.'"242
The tendency of schools to shield perpetrators and conceal abuse allegations potentially places numerous children at risk while offering those who have sexually abused students refuge and access to victims within the school system. The mother of TM, an eighteen-year-old student, called Childline in May 1997 to report concerns that a teacher was attempting to sexually abuse TM. She later learned her daughter had not been the teacher's only victim. The student told her mother that on two separate occasions in May, the teacher kissed her and touched her bottom. According to the Childline counselor:

The teacher had been asking her questions about relationships-whether she has boyfriends. He used to call her father at work to tell him that [the girl] needs private lessons because her performance is so poor. The parents refused because they didn't like the question that he asks their child.243

TM's mother met with the principal and was surprised to learn that the principal already knew of at least two other reported cases. 244 It is far from clear what further evidence this particular principal would have required to take action, if repeated complaints from parents and students were perceived to be insufficient.
Before taking a voluntary leave of absence, a high school teacher in Bishop Lavis continued in his teaching duties for nearly a year after he had allegedly raped DN, a seventeen-year-old student, in an empty school hall in September 1998. DN disclosed the rape to a friend, who told the school guidance counselor, who then reported the rape to the principal. The school took no action against the teacher.245 A criminal case against the teacher is currently pending.
A Rustenburg teacher remains employed after allegedly raping a student and will likely face no criminal sanction. BG, fifteen, phoned Childline in October 1999 from Rustenburg to talk about her feelings after she was raped by her teacher. The Childline operator summarized the call as follows.

A year ago the caller was raped by her teacher. She told a female teacher who told the school principal. Parents were also told. Rape charges were filed. School Principal persuaded her mother to drop the charges. Promised to take care of the matter. Nothing has been done yet. Caller finds it difficult to "cope" after the incident. Studies are deteriorating. The teacher still teaches at the same school. Caller never received any counseling. Needs some. Caller sounds very optimistic, but feels disappointed by her mother and school principal.246

As in BG's case, school response is often to urge the family to remain silent and not to alert police about abuse with a promise that the matter will be handled internally. Repeatedly, parents told Human Rights Watch that schools asked them not to get the police involved or draw publicity to problems at school. Usually it was publicity and parent protest that prompted any school action. When parents learn that their child has been a victim of violence at school, school officials encourage the parents to deal with the matter within the school, as further demonstrated by LB's case, detailed in chapter V above.
Not only have schools failed to report abuse to police, in some instances schools have failed to alert parents about incidents that occur at school. A prosecutor working on the case of a girl abducted from school by her "boyfriend" told Human Rights Watch how the school failed to alert the child's parents about the abduction:

I had a case of a schoolgirl with a taxi driver boyfriend. He would abduct the girl from class; she'd be missing for days. On one day that she was abducted her father went to the school and asked, "where is my daughter." He hadn't been called immediately after she'd been taken away, and even after he asked the teachers they told him nothing. It was the other students who finally told him that a man came and took his daughter away.247

Failure to Cooperate with Investigators

It is rare that you find schools helping, teachers and principals turn a blind eye. It's like the child is on his or her own. Everyone is scared for themselves. If you try and take things up you may find yourself in big trouble.

Hlengiwe Magwaza, Childline counselor

In our interviews with police, prosecutors, and social workers, schools and the education system were criticized for their roles in facilitating sexual violence by failing to fully cooperate with investigations. One prosecutor said that in her experience:

Schools tend to play a standoffish role. They don't want to know about it, especially if it is on their premises-bad publicity. We haven't had any school come forward or teachers trying to help us on any cases when abuse occurs in school.248

Police officials made similar observations, saying that schools rarely reported sexual violence in the first instance. The Senior Superintendent Commander of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses Unit of the South African Police Service observed:

Most often children report to police directly, by themselves or in the alternative parents will report. Rarely do schools report. Years ago school abuse always stayed within the system, it would wind up in the hands of an educational psychologist, it would have been dealt with in the school system. Schools have a better understanding. There is more openness, but the fact remains that most abuse at school is reported by kids and their parents, not schools.249

A prosecutor told Human Rights Watch that in her experience schools could not be relied upon to assist with investigations, particularly where a school employee is the accused:

I had another case in a preschool of a caretaker who allegedly molested a young girl. There was physical evidence. Her vagina was red, irritated. During the course of the investigation prior to trial, I got a call from the school wanting to discuss the case with me. So I went to the school expecting, perhaps naively, their support. Instead they were positively hostile towards me and aggressively in support of their caretaker. Telling me how he'd worked there for years, he's in his fifties. Basically what it came down to for them was the child was the one with the problem.250

A social worker attempting to investigate allegations of sexual abuse against a schoolteacher described the negative experience she had with the school management as follows:

Once I approached the Department of Education with a case, asking about a teacher's [an allegedly sexually abusive] work history. They were useless. No record of why he'd resigned from several schools before this latest one. He was never reprimanded or monitored. I'll never call on the Department again. The school wasn't helpful either. The teacher stayed at the school for some time because there were no witnesses to the abuse.251

Inappropriate Responses
In the absence of clear guidelines and lacking awareness of how to confront sexual violence, even the most well intentioned teachers may discipline students in ways that are unproductive, sometimes reinforcing violence as a legitimate means of confronting problems.
Human Rights Watch is opposed to the use of corporal punishment against children in schools, however that violence is rationalized.252 Just as challenging routine domestic violence against women has been a vital part of the advancement of women's rights, challenging physical assaults on children disguised as corrective discipline is vital to improving children's status. Human Rights Watch is encouraged by the national Department of Education's efforts to end the practice of corporal punishment in schools with its recently released guidelines to teachers on alternatives to corporal punishment.253

Supporting Victims of Violence
In those instances where schools officials immediately responded to girls who reported abuse, by believing them, seriously investigating allegations, and confronting the attackers in a way that ensured abusive behavior would not remain a threat, girls reported feeling safe and empowered.
For example, when seventeen-year-old NN told her teacher that she had been beaten by a male student from a neighboring school, she was gratified to be believed and supported. The boy had come to NN's school, sought her out, and beat her because she had refused to date him. NN was pleased at her teacher's decisive response:

I told a teacher and we went to this boy's school together to complain. He is now in jail. He raped another girl and he was caught. I was happy with my school's response. 254

Although it is not clear whether NN's teacher had much to do with preventing future attacks against NN, she explained that she was happy with the response of her teacher because she received his support. He listened to her and took prompt action on her behalf to protest her attacker's behavior. Sadly, many other girls are not as fortunate.
Experts working on sexual harassment in schools have found most effective those interventions in which school authorities take a proactive stance in confronting sexual violence and harassment, respect the wishes and confidentially of the student victims, and offer the students feedback on how their complaints have been handled.255 According to experts, most effective are schools that act swiftly and unequivocally to end harassment, offering the target of abuse a variety of options for redress, ranging from an opportunity to confront the offender in a safe and supervised space, to school enforced "stay-a-ways" requiring separation of the victim from the perpetrator for a finite time with teacher oversight and sanctions for violation.

205 Childline call record, September 1999.

206 Childline call record, August 1997.

207 Human Rights Watch interview with Tinka Labuschagne, Say No to Child Abuse Alliance, Johannesburg, March 16, 2000.

208 Human Rights Watch interview with Xoliswa Keke, Childline, Durban, March 29, 2000.

209 Human Rights Watch interview with DA, age fifteen, Durban, April 5, 2000.

210 Human Rights Watch interview with MZ, age seventeen, Durban, April 4, 2000.

211 Ibid.

212 Human Rights Watch interview with MB, age seventeen, Durban, April 5, 2000.

213 Human Rights Watch interview with Lynn Cawood, Childline, Johannesburg, March 14, 2000.

214 Human Rights Watch interview with NN, age seventeen, Durban, April 5, 2000.

215 Human Rights Watch interview with AC, age fourteen, Mitchell's Plain, April 15, 2000.

216 Human Rights Watch interview with MZ, age seventeen, Durban, April 4, 2000.

217 Human Rights Watch interview with AC, age fourteen, Mitchell's Plain, April 15, 2000.

218 Andersson, Beyond Victims and Villains, p 56. One in every ten male youths surveyed in CIETafrica's study thought jack-rolling or "magintsa" [gang rape] was "cool."

219 Human Rights Watch interview with NJ, age sixteen, Durban, April 5, 2000.

220 Human Rights Watch interview with MB, age seventeen, Durban, April 5, 2000.

221 Human Rights Watch interview with MZ, age seventeen, Durban, April 4, 2000.

222 Childline call record, July 1997.

223 Ibid.

224 Human Rights Watch interview with WH, age thirteen, Johannesburg, March 18, 2000.

225 Human Rights Watch interview with WH's mother, March 18, 2000.

226 Human Rights Watch interview with Sthokozo Nxumalo, Resources Aimed At the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (RAPCAN), Cape Town, April 17, 2000. RAPCAN is a nongovernmental organization committed to developing child abuse prevention strategies to combat patterns of abuse through training and advocacy.

227 Human Rights Watch interview with Linda Dhabicharam, Childline, Durban, March 28, 2000.

228 Human Rights Watch interview with Ursula Higgins, youth advocate, Cape Town, April 12, 2000.

229 Human Rights Watch interview with Sharon Moore, teacher, April 14, Cape Town 2000.

230 Human Rights Watch interview with vice principal, Cato Manor, April 5, 2000.

231 Human Rights Watch interview with Sthokozo Nxumalo, RAPCAN, Cape Town, April 7, 2000.

232 Human Rights Watch interview with vice principal, Cato Manor, April 5, 2000.

233 Human Rights Watch interview with teacher, Alexandra Township, March 27, 2000; Human Rights Watch interview with teacher, Mitchell's Plain, April 14, 2000; Human Rights Watch interview with teacher, Cape Flats, April 12, 2000.

234 Richard Griggs, "School Violence: A Culture of Learning About Drugs, Thugs and Guns," ChildrenFirst, February/March 1998, p. 7.

235 Human Rights Watch interview with teacher, Mitchell's Plain, April 14, 2000.

236 Human Rights Watch interview with teacher, Alexandra township, March 27, 2000.

237 South African legislation, including the Child Care Act 86 of 1991, as amended, Section 42, establishes mandatory reporting of child abuse. According to the South African Law Commission, although the duty to report initially rested only on medical and dental personnel, the legislature subsequently decided to impose a duty to report on teachers. Pursuant to statutory obligations to report child abuse, any person who examines, treats, attends to, advises, instructs, or cares for a child must report abuse to a police official or child welfare. Failure to comply with statutory reporting requirements constitutes an offense punishable upon conviction by a fine not exceeding R4,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both. Once a report has been made, further action must be taken. South African Law Commission, "Review of the Child Care Act," Issue Paper 13, Project 110 (1998). For further discussion of the statutory obligation to report child abuse see N. Van Dokkum, "The Statutory Obligation to Report Child Abuse and Neglect," in Raylene Keightley (ed.), Children's Rights (Kenwyn: Juta and Co., Ltd., 1996).

238 Human Rights Watch interview with MC's mother, Johannesburg, March 18, 2000.

239 Ibid.

240 Charlene Smith, "Rape Accused Continues to Teach," Mail and Guardian, September 1, 1999.

241 Human Rights Watch interview with Shamona Reddy, social worker, Johannesburg, March 23, 2000.

242 Ibid.

243 Childline call record, May 1997.

244 Childline call record, May 1997.

Called [TM's mother]. She spoke to the principal who revealed that the teacher had done the same thing last year but she couldn't do much because there was not much evidence. Yesterday morning another girl went into his classroom and he kissed her. The girl told the principal.

245 Human Rights Watch interview with Mallory Issacs, Childline, Bishop Lavis, April 14, 2000.

246 Childline call record, October 30, 1999.

247 Human Rights Watch interview with Val Melis, Senior Public Prosecutor, Durban, April 3, 2000.

248 Ibid.

249 Human Rights Watch interview with Anneke Pienaar, Commander: Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, Pretoria, March 20, 2000.

250 Human Rights Watch interview with Val Melis, Senior Public Prosecutor, Durban, April 3, 2000.

251 Human Rights Watch interview with Linda Dhabicharam, Childline, Durban, March 29, 2000.

252 See Human Rights Watch, "Spare the Child: Corporal Punishment in Kenyan Schools," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 11, no. 6(A), September 1999.

253 Department of Education, Alternatives to Corporal Punishment (Pretoria: Department of Education, October 2000).

254 Human Rights Watch interview with NN, age seventeen, Durban, April 5, 2000.

255 See, for example, Stein, Classrooms and Courtrooms, pp. 83-94.

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

HRW Logo

Home | Current Events | News | Publications | About HRW | Regions | Global Issues | Campaigns
What You Can Do | Contribute | Book Store | Film Festival | Search | Site Map | Contact Us

© Copyright 2001, Human Rights Watch    350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor    New York, NY 10118-3299    USA