Debbie Schäfer, MPP
Western Cape Minister of Education
The front page story in yesterday’s Cape Times, if true, is a matter of extreme concern.
If children, including primary school children, are engaging in games wherein the boys run after girls and pretend to rape them, as reported, this reflects a serious problem with our society. The fact that primary school children even know what rape is and how it is done is tragic.
It is equally concerning that this is allegedly happening in our schools and the first time we hear about it is via an anonymous source in the newspaper. I have made inquiries with our district office in Mitchells Plain, where these games are allegedly taking place, and I can confirm that the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has received no reports from the public or from any of our schools engaging in this game.
The WCED has now launched a full investigation into the matter, and district officials will visit schools this week to engage with principals. I will request an urgent briefing as soon as the investigation is complete.
Rape is not a game. The levels of sexual violence in our country are unacceptably high. One way of assisting in limiting the incidents of this violence is to teach our children from a young age what is acceptable behaviour and what is not, as well as sending out a very strong message that unacceptable behavior will not be tolerated.
We will do whatever we can to educate our learners that this kind of behavior is just not on. We also appeal to parents and religious institutions to educate children at home and after school about the differences between right and wrong. This kind of alleged behaviour does not exist in a vacuum.