This report was written by Erika George, Alan Finberg fellow with the Academic Freedom Program of Human Rights Watch, based on research conducted in South Africa from late March to early April 2000 by the author and Yodon Thonden, counsel to the Children's Rights Division. It was edited by Joe Saunders, former Director of the Academic Freedom Program, Bronwen Manby of the Africa Division, and Michael McClintock, Deputy Program Director. LaShawn Jefferson, Deputy Director of the Women's Rights Division, and Michael Bochenek and Joanne Csete of the Children's Rights Division provided valuable insights and helpful comments. James Ross of the Human Rights Watch legal and policy office provided legal review. Production assistance was provided by Jonathan Horowitz.
Many people provided us with helpful information, guidance, and assistance in South Africa. Our special thanks go to Joan van Niekerk, founder and executive director of Childline, for her generous assistance in facilitating our research. We are also especially grateful for the assistance of Charlene Smith of the Mail and Guardian. We also wish to thank Lynn Cawood, Colin AJ Collett van Rooyen, Michael Sikhakhane, Helen Gumede, Cheryl Jarman, Ravni Chetty, Kimberley Porteus, Joy Pelo, Sthokozo Nxumalo, Betty George, Nan Stein, Susan Fineran, Claudia Mitchell, Margaret Roper, Thuli Shongwe, Sue Goldstone, Harriet Perlman, Eric Richardson, Janet Walsh, Zetu Makamandela, Cathy Albertyn, Marietjie Myberg, Ruta van NieKerk, and Nicolette Moodie.
Human Rights Watch thanks Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect in Cape Town and all the Childline offices in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Western Cape. We also owe a special debt of gratitude to the Crime Reduction in Schools Project in KwaZulu-Natal and the Safe Schools Project in the Western Cape. We are grateful to the many school officials who allowed us to interview them and their students.
Most especially, we wish to express our deep appreciation to the many courageous girls who spoke with us and thank them and their families for sharing their stories.
Support for this project came in part from the Ford Foundation.