AFRICA/SOUTH AFRICA - South African Bishops denounce: "1 in 5 children have been sexually abused"

Tuesday, 23 May 2017 violence   bishops  

Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - "Each crime against a woman and child causes the delicate fabric of our society to unravel that much more" denounces His Exc. Mgr. Stephen Brislin, Archbishop of Cape Town and President of SACBC (Southern Africa Catholic Bishops' Conference) in a message which denounces violence against women and children. "While some perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted through the criminal justice system, survivors face secondary victimization as the matter progresses through the courts. The social and human cost is immense", explains Archbishop Brieslin.
The President of SACBC reports data from a recent study which states that 1 in 5 children have been sexually abused, while 75% of boys experienced bullying at school.
Mgr. Brislin stresses that "the recent unfolding agony of violence against women and children has resulted in a nation numbed with shock". The brutality of this and the knowledge that so many of these crimes have been perpetrated by individuals known to the victims. "A fact that raises questions that demand answers" the Archbishop comments. Domestic violence, in schools and society are aggravated by "widespread abuse of alcohol and drugs"; young people, who often gather in gangs are those who pay a high price. "Participation in gangs is commonplace and may result in collective violence and gang rape".
The solution cannot only be police repression and prison, the Archbishop says. "We have to go back to the beginning and look at the way we socialize our children if we wish to curb this violence. Instead of only investing huge sums of money in the criminal justice system and correctional facilities more allowance should be made for parenting programmes and support. We need interventions to combat the normalization of violence at home, at school, at church and in our communities", concludes Mgr. Brislin. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/5/2017)