Breaking the silence around child abuse

Station Commander for Honeydew Police Station Commander Brigadier Wayne Sirkhot greets pupils who took part in the campaign.

With the aim of raising awareness and helping children to break the silence against Child Abuse, Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) Matla a Bana and Honeydew Police launched and celebrated Child Protection Week at Clearwater Mall in Struben’s Valley on Friday, 30 May.

Pupils from Allen Glen High School and from Cosmo City based Far North Secondary were part of the campaign run by the two entities.

Founder of the NGO, Monique Strydom said they held the event in an effort to encourage children to start speaking out about abuse. “Statistics show that most of the time perpetrators are known to the victims and normally threaten them, so we want to break that silence and encourage children to have confidence in the police.”

To show the impact of what it feels for silenced victims, attendees’ mouths were solo taped and by doing that, Strydom believed it will help everyone understand the difficulty that is felt by victims who are silenced by their perpetrators.

Station Commander for Honeydew Police Brigadier Wayne Sirkhot encouraged pupils to speak up about abuse. ” How are we going to help you if you don’t speak up? As the police we are here to protect you, if you are abused in anyway, be it bullying at school or home come to us and we will help you.”

Sirkhot added that it was time for pupils to literally take off the tapes off their mouths and speak up. “Say: I have a problem.”

He also commended the Matla a Bana on the great work they are doing. “We are pleased as the police to have specialised people like them who assist children to open up and also prepare them for court,” Sirkhot added.

Actress Bertha le Roux told the pupils that the police are not bad people as they are painted by perpetrators. “The police will always be there to help you when you need them.”

Strydom said the more opinion leaders speak up about this, it will then be when abused children will also open up and report their abusers.

Details: Honeydew Police 011 801 8614; Matla a Bana 011 878 6742; matla@mweb.co.za

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