Beliefs and knowledge of isiXhosa speaking people about child sexual abuse in a rural area
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The researcher is a member of the South African Police Service, attached to Family violence, Child protection and Sexual Offences Unit in the Eastern Cape, dealing with victims of child sexual abuse. It had come to the researcher’s attention that some children are being sexually abused by family relatives and some are sexually abused by the known people for different reasons which are based on their beliefs and knowledge about child sexual abuse. Most of these cases are of children who are living in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape. The numbers of such cases are increasing in Ngqeleni, Libode, Mqanduli, Mthatha and Lusikisiki; hence the study is based on those areas of the Eastern Cape. The people living in these areas speak isiXhosa. No study known of such has been conducted in this geographic area; it appears that this problem was never brought to light, at all. This matter of child sexual abuse in these areas was never addressed. The aim of the research is to know more about the beliefs and knowledge of isiXhosa-speaking people regarding child sexual abuse in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape, and also to look at the strategies and programmes that can be implemented in order to make parents, children and the community at large of isiXhosa-speaking areas aware of child sexual abuse. Purposive sampling was conducted with Forensic Social workers at the South African Police Service, Social workers at Department of Social Development, and Social workers at Umtata Child Abuse Resource Centre, parents dealing with children and community members that are members of Lekgotla. The research done in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape shows that the isiXhosa-speaking people of the rural areas of the Eastern Cape have little knowledge of child sexual abuse and those that indeed do know what to do are obstructed by their beliefs about child sexual abuse; hence they do not report it and some do not consider it as being sexual abuse. The people concerned working in these areas are afraid to report incidents of child abuse, thinking that they will lose their job should they report the incidents to law enforcement agencies or to social workers. The study shows that neither awareness programmes were presented nor any education done in these areas about child sexual abuse. Children in these areas are vulnerable due to ignorance, lack of knowledge, beliefs of their parents and the beliefs of the perpetrators and their lack knowledge. There is a vast need for extended programmes, awareness and education projects to be conducted by the social workers in Government and Non-Government organizations in the remote areas, at school, and in the communities of these areas. Teachers at pre-school and primary school levels and parents need to be educated on child sexual abuse. This study addressed the issue of child sexual abuse looking at the beliefs of isiXhosa-speaking people.
- Humanities