In support of Child Protection Week (29 May – 5 June 2023), the Bhambayi Project calls on all South Africans to take action in joining the fight to protect our children against abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation.
“Every 20 minutes a child is sexually abused in South Africa according to reported cases. However, the sad reality is more like every 2 minutes, as children stay silent out of fear and shame. Both girls and boys form part of the horrifying statistics, with victims as young as three years old and younger reported. Child rape is South Africa’s hidden pandemic that urgently needs to be addressed,” says Mandy Pearson – Bhambayi Project Founder and CEO.
The Bhambayi Project is focused on transforming the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in Bhambayi, Inanda, through relationships and empowerment, and aims to enable them to be courageous agents of change.
“In journeying with the over 230 children we support, we have come into contact with an alarming number of child rape cases. We have discovered that it is virtually impossible to get rapists arrested. Even if they are arrested, in our experience, they are often released on bail within one month of arrest. There are rapists who are sport coaches, drivers of school transport and many others out on bail, continuing to interact with children. If they rape again, the chances of re-arrest are slim,” says Pearson.
The justice system, police department, child welfare and other structures are failing our children. “Our interaction with the system paints a sobering picture that rapists are more protected than our children,” adds Pearson.
This Child Protection Week, the Bhambayi Project are doing something significant to ensure that this horrific reality changes. “In partnership with local community leaders, members and children we have arranged a march from Bhambayi, starting at the park near the Gandhi Memorial House to the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court. A petition will be handed over to leadership in both the justice system and the SAPS at the Ntuzuma Magistrates Court at 2:30pm on 2 June, 2023.”
The children who are a part of the Bhambayi Project’s programmes will be making placards, green ribbon pins, and having various life skills lessons around child protection. “However, as important as educating and creating awareness is, we need a system that serves to protect the children of South Africa. Currently rapists know that consequences are highly unlikely.”
Child rape is a Schedule 6 offense but, in reality, it is often not being treated as such.
“In consultation with leaders in both the police and the justice system, we have arrived at 7 basic demands to help protect our children and to ensure the voice of the child is heard.”
Detailed descriptions of the 7 demands are available on the Bhambayi Project website www.bhambayiproject.co.za
“This Child Protection week we encourage everyone to be courageous agents of change in our world. Please join us in fighting to protect our children by signing our petition.”
The petition may be found at www.change.org/FIghtChildRape or on the Bhambayi Project website www.bhambayiproject.co.za or Instagram/Facebook pages
Click here for the video: https://youtu.be/rL0Asb-K8lU and please share it far and wide.
The Bhambayi Project is a registered NPO who empowers orphans and vulnerable children, together with their guardians, through a community-based orphan support model. Their aim is to ignite tangible hope through re-storying lives, building bridges and challenging mindsets in order to change narratives across our nation.