Monday night’s Four Corners looks at the story of three young girls living in modern day South Africa. Each of them has been raped, each lives in fear. Meanwhile, the authorities do little to protect them or punish their attackers.
South Africa has the highest incidence of rape in the world, and almost half the victims are children. On average, a child is raped every three minutes and yet there is apparently no concerted effort to stop this epidemic. This week, True Vision Productions takes us to the city of Port Elizabeth in South Africa to document how this war against women and children is being fought, talking with the victims as they try to go about their daily lives and revealing how little is being done to help them.
In just a few weeks, South Africa will host the World Cup of Soccer. Billions of dollars have been spent on preparing the country’s sporting facilities, and millions more will be spent on public entertainment and security. But South Africa has a terrible secret that it does not want to the world to know: while it spends a fortune on a major sporting event it cannot protect its female population.
Port Elizabeth, on the country’s south east coast, will play host to several World Cup matches, but down the road from the city’s stadium, women – both young and old – live in fear. Most are too frightened to speak, but now three remarkable young girls have decided to break the terrible silence and tell their stories to the world.
Nozuko is 13. Three years ago she was raped. Her parents do not want her to report the attack because they are scared they will become the targets of further violence from the man who raped their daughter.
Ntombi lives in a settlement that looks like Soweto-by-the-sea. She shares a corrugated iron shack with her brother and three younger sisters. She is 11 and several months ago she was raped. Accompanied by her mother, she reports the attack to the police, but they are less than enthusiastic. Even if her attackers get to court, because they are younger than 18 they will back on the street very quickly.
Fuzeka also lives in Port Elizabeth. Growing up there her life seemed full of promise. She had a government-built house to live in, both parents and was being educated at the local school. All that came to an end one night when her father raped her in the family home while the others slept. Now she lives in a one room shed with her mother and sister. Each day she lives in fear, knowing that, since her father has not been jailed, he could appear any minute at her new home. She has other concerns, too. Fuzeka is frightened that if her HIV-positive mother becomes too sick to work, she will be forced to go back and live with her father.
These children are not isolated examples – a girl born in South Africa has a one in three chance of finishing school, but a one in two chance of being raped. Why is this being allowed to happen, and what will be the cost in the future?
It airs at 8:30pm Monday on ABC1.