Boys, 8, regularly rape girls aged 5-6
North West District Education office, in Maun, is investigating Nxaraga primary school following reports that school boys were regularly and consistently sexually molesting younger girls during school hours.
Girls as young as 5 and 6 years of age are reported to have been sexually abused by the boys, aged around 8 years, some of who have been treated for sexually transmitted diseases at the hospital.
The matter came to the fore when a traumatized little girl confided in her aunt that she was being “touched” in a way she did not like at school.
“During the first week of this month, my niece told me that she did not like the way her classmate undressed her at school. She told me the boy was in the habit of lifting up her dress and ‘touching’ her. When I asked her to show me how the boy touched her, the usually bubbly girl became unusually shy and dropped her head and said she could not show me because she was too embarrassed. She said that what the boy did to her was morogakano (vulgar),” the shocked aunt stated.
The aunt who is a guardian to two nieces, aged 5 and 6 asked the other girl who is in standard two at the same school about the allegations and discovered that she was also being sexually used at school by an older boy, albeit in the same class.
“I went to school and we discovered that sex was a daily activity at that school. Pupils pointed at each other and told of who is sleeping with who. The 8-year old boy who used my 6-year- old was said to have been using five more girls from the same class. In fact, he has even been caught with a condom, but we did not know whether he intended to use it or he was simply playing with it,” further narrated the concerned aunt.
For the protection of the pupils, the names have been withheld.
“It then crossed my mind that today’s children are sometimes born with HIV and that made me even more worried. We reported the matter to the police and a social worker was called in.” she further added.
The concerned guardian further complained that it was not enough that the only corrective step the school took was to ask the offending boys’ mothers to punish them.
”That’s was not enough. Our children have been molested and the school swept the matter under the carpet, just like that. I spent a week at Thamalakane hospital because the other girl had an infection!”She said.
Adding salt to injury, the distraught aunt said, the school opted to stop the younger girl from coming to school and argued that she was too young.
“She already has the complete school uniform and has regularly been attending class, but now they contend that she was never actually registered. I feel that she is being victimized for exposing the rot that is happening in that school,” said the aunt.
According to the girls, the older boys often hide at the girl’s toilets and kidnap them when they come to relieve themselves and molest them. “The other boys often keep watch while the others rape the girls,” explained one of the abused schoolgirls.
Acting Director of Education in the North West region, Baamogeleng Moteti, has confirmed the allegation and said, “Indeed we visited the school and we found out it was true, such acts have been taking place. There is one particular 8-year-old who is said to be the master of it, often demonstrating to others how it is done.”
The boy is said to be in the habit of fondling the girls even after school, especially on the way home.
“Our preliminary investigations have revealed that the boy could be under trauma. He sleeps with his parents in a single room. He could be experimenting what he has been exposed to. But we are to send a professional councilor to the school for further investigations,” explained Moteti.
In the interim, authorities have decided to move the girl’s toilets much further from the boy’s toilets such that pupils won’t have to go in the same direction on their way to the toilet.
“The other toilets have to be moved to the other side of the classes that is because they are all behind the classrooms, we have to move the other to the front,” Moeti explained.
But, can an 8-year old be liable to a sexual offence?
A local attorney, Uyapo Ndadi, who is well versed with children’s law pointed out that a rape case can be made from Nxaraga, if it can be proven that the perpetrators knew what they were doing.
“A person under the age of 8 is not criminally responsible for any act or omission,” Ndadi quoted the country’s penal code, which further reads that” “a person under the age of 14 years is not criminally responsible for an act or omission unless it is proved that at the time of doing the act or making the omission, he or she had capacity to know that he ought not to do the act or make the omission.”
The penal code further provides that any person under the age of 12 is presumed to be incapable of having canal knowledge.