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Sexual Abuse of Young Children in Southern Africa
Linda Richter, Andrew Dawes, Craig Higson-Smith
210mm X 148mm | 496pp. | R180.00 | 0-7969-2053-2 | 2004

How does one begin to understand and respond to the appalling levels of sexual abuse and rape of young children in southern Africa, children who have not yet reached puberty? What is it about our societies that renders so many children vulnerable to abuse?

And why is it that we are failing so dismally to protect children despite the provisions of humanistic constitutions adopted in the region and international laws such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child to which we are signatories? Why are abused children continuing to fall through the cracks of our protection and justice systems? What is to be done to prevent the abuse of young children, and what can be done to assist children, their caregivers and perpetrators who, themselves, are oftentimes victims of their own histories, circumstances and personal inadequacies?

Sexual Abuse of Young Children in Southern Africa is the first attempt in the region to grapple with the full complexity of these questions. Understandably, child sexual abuse is a highly emotive issue. Just as we need vigorous action and advocacy to protect all children and assist those who are abused, so too we need to understand the problem. Improved understanding will enhance our ability to prevent, protect and heal, and it will strengthen the arms of those who advocate on behalf of abused children.

Neither the causes nor the solutions to child sexual abuse can be understood by one discipline. We face a multifaceted problem. For that reason, this volume includes contributions from key players with a range of expertise. Among them are legal and policy researchers, child rights activists, clinical practitioners, social anthropologists and child development research specialists.

The book is in five parts. The opening section confronts the reader with the realities of sexual abuse in pre-pubertal children, and proceeds to a discussion of the way abuse is represented in the press. The second section of the book presents the main findings concerning the individual, socio-economic and socio-cultural correlates of child sexual abuse. Section Three covers South African legal and policy responses to the problem, while the fourth section presents accounts of interventions on behalf of abused children drawn from South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The book concludes with critical reflections on the state of knowledge in the field and suggests priorities for policy and research. The authors and editors make the point that one of the primary roots of sexual abuse, rape and related violence against women and children is because many men assume that women and children are naturally subordinate to them and duty-bound to meet their needs. As long as such attitudes prevail, and are reinforced by culture, politics, economics and interpersonal relations, the potential for violence and sexual abuse to women and children will remain.

Graça Machel

Note from the Ford Foundation
Dr Gerry Salole



1. Confronting the problem
Andrew Dawes, Linda Richter and Craig Higson-Smith

Section I: Talking about child sexual abuse
2. The many kinds of sexual abuse of young children
Linda Richter and Craig Higson-Smith
3. Media representations of baby rape: the case of Baby Tshepang
William Bird and Nicola Spurr

Section II: Understanding child sexual abuse
4. Individual and contextual factors associated with the sexual abuse of children under 12: a review of recent literature
Loraine Townsend and Andrew Dawes
5. The socio-cultural context of child abuse: a betrayal of trust
Mthobeli Guma and Nomvo Henda
6. Responses to gender-based violence in schools
Heather Brookes and Craig Higson-Smith
7. Child sexual abuse and HIV infection
Rachel Jewkes
8. Commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking of children
Craig Higson-Smith and Linda Richter
9. Measurement and monitoring
Andrew Dawes, Jaqueline Borel-Saladin and Zareena Parker

Section III: Legal and policy responses
10. Legal definitions and practices in child sexual abuse
Jacqui Gallinetti
11. Challenges of service evaluation in the Wynberg and Cape Town Sexual Offences Courts and their related services
Mastoera Sadan
12. Policy responses to child sexual abuse in South Africa
Jackie Loffell
13. At the coalface: the Childline experience
Joan van Niekerk
14. Advocacy on behalf of sexually abused children: research and policy issues arising from a case study
Deborah Ewing
15. The Report of the Parliamentary Task Group on the sexual abuse of children 2002: a commentary
Rose September

Section IV: Clinical and therapeutic responses
16. Access to specialist services and the criminal justice system: data from the Teddy Bear Clinic
Craig Higson-Smith and Luke Lamprecht
17. Doing something: the initiation of sexual abuse services in Soweto
Chrissie Mkhasibe and René Brandt
18. Therapeutic approaches to sexually abused children
Beverley Killian and Jonathan Brakarsh
19. Case studies of child sexual abuse in Zimbabwe
Clare Rudd
20. Armed conflict and the sexual abuse of children in Mozambique
Boia Efraime Junior

Section V: Reflections
21. Research on child sexual abuse: some problems and comments (Nog n klip in die bos)
Ann Levett
22. Are we any closer to solutions?
Linda Richter, Andrew Dawes and Craig Higson-Smith



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Chapter 1