Understand abuse and how to protect your child


Understand abuse and how to protect your child

In South Africa in 2018, at least 41% of all reported rape cases from the previous three years involved children. In the same period, more than 2600 children were murdered. Tens of thousands of babies were abandoned across the country. Of this, 2 out of 3 are reported to have died.  (

We  fully realise that majority of people will have seen the heading and carried on scrolling. This is not a topic that we like to think about. Especially when we think it doesn’t concern us directly. It’s not happening to anyone we know (that we are aware of). It makes us too sad to think about.  Maybe we think that it only happens in the lower income sectors. 

So if you are still reading this then I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You need to. These kids need us.

There are many types of child abuse, the most common being  Physical, Sexual, Psychological, neglect. According to the South African Childrens Act 38 of 2005, a person from birth to 18 years of age is considered a child. 

We want to build awareness of what constitutes child abuse and focus primarily on sexual abuse and the molester. 

Neglect is considered abuse and involves a parent, legal guardian or care giver who fails to provide constant food, shelter and medical care as well as the failure to meet emotional needs such as affection, attention and supervision. 

Physical abuse would consist of hitting, beating biting or burning a child, or any act that would cause grievous bodily harm. 

Emotional Abuse would be excessive and unnecessary yelling, shaming, blaming and threatening a child with physical harm. 

Sexual abuse, according to the Wikipedia Definition is usually undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. It is often perpetrated using force or by taking advantage of another.[1] When force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault[citation needed]. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or (often pejoratively) molester.[2] The term also covers any behavior by an adult or older adolescent towards a child to stimulate any of the involved sexually. The use of a child, or other individuals younger than the age of consent, for sexual stimulation is referred to as child sexual abuse or statutory rape. This will also include exposure to sexual stimulation and incest. 



It is important to know that it is often very difficult to identify someone as an abuser or molester because they are usually known and liked by the child.  They, for the most part, appear to be well-adjusted people who are friendly and likeable. Clearly they do not want anyone to know who they are behind closed doors, they know that what they are doing, or intend to do, is wrong and therefore they hide it. They have two personas. They are deceivers and liars, just as any other criminal out there.  They keep secrets and make threats. 

An abuser does not fit a certain criteria. Abusers can me male or female, gay or straight, married or single, rich or poor, educated or not and even adult or minor. They can be strangers, friends or family members. 


A sexual abuser has a process. They don’t just wake up one day and make a decision to abuse the first child they come across. They have a plan. They have a very specific selection and grooming process that can take a very long time to initiate. They are aware of the consequences and don’t want to get caught. 

The Grooming process is the act of preparing and slowly desensitizing a child  to illicit acts. This process takes time. They initiate a relationship, sometimes with the parent/parents first (single mothers are prime targets). They slowly gain the trust of the child (and parent/s).  They do research on the child. Find out what they like and dislike. What their fears are. They find something that will fill a need of the child. This could be anything from tutoring, gifts, financial needs. They then try to isolate the child from their peers and family. Maybe offer to take the child out on an outing somewhere. Offer to baby sit. They need to be alone with the child. They then start to test the child to see if the child will keep a secret for them. They will start off by testing them with small, insignificant secrets. They will offer rewards for their secrecy. Once they have established this (which, keeping in mind that the child now knows and trusts this person) – they will start sexualizing the relationship. Slowly desensitizing the child to sexual things. It may start off with an inappropriate touch, that they can “laugh off” as an accident. It can start with sexual conversations and “advice”. Pornography. And they will continue this process until they get to a point where they manipulate the child by saying that they will go to jail and be in trouble, and so will the child. They will say that the child will also be in trouble because they participated in “xyz”. They may threaten the child with hurting the people they love. Either way – they gain control over the situation and the child. And without you ever knowing it, your child is a victim of sexual abuse. 

So what can you do to decrease your childs’ chances of becoming a victim? 

• Maintain a rule of supervision:  not allowing your child to be alone with one person wherever possible. The more people are present, the less likely it is that your child will be affected. Remember, a sexual predator wants to be alone with the child. 

• Be aware of anyone that shows an increased interest in one particular child. 

• Be aware of who your child has contact with, either by messaging or social media. These days a lot of grooming takes place on social media, without you ever having to meet the person prior. 

• Prevent it – tell the child what is ok and what’s not ok. Assure the child that they are free to talk to you about anything and that they won’t get into trouble for anything. Remember – the predator is a master manipulator! His skill set consists of lying, deceiving and threatening. He’s a con artist as well as a sexual deviant and he knows exactly how to get away with it. 

• Children RARELY lie about sexual abuse. If they do have the courage to come to you with this – believe them! Even if the person they are accusing is the most unlikely person. You need to take the accusation seriously and assure the child that you are there to support them. And then, PROTECT THEM. It is their right and your duty. Remember: If you fail to report a case of abuse, then you, too, are committing a criminal offense. 



The comforting news is that Benoni has its very own Sexual Assault Clinic, which was founded and funded by Forensic Nurse, Christa Rollin. 

Christa is a registered nurse with 26 years’ experience and  has specialised  in medico-legal examinations since 2009. She is passionate and caring, very professional, and she knows the law! Her testimonies have had many predators convicted. 

Not only does she conduct forensic examinations but she has also developed training courses and workshops that educate parents, teachers and  individuals, such as lawyers, on sexual assault, the molester, symptoms of assault and so much more. The cost of these courses is minimal and all the funds raised go towards the running of the clinic. 

For more information on the workshops conducted, please email: 

Or you can contact Christa on  073 549 6678 with any questions, advice or to make a donation. 


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