Justice for Dominique

Update posted by Teresa Oelofse On Mar 13, 2018

Nothing can prepare a parent for hearing that their child has been abused. No matter how you hear about it, the news is devastating. It is very difficult to accept that this terrible thing has happened to your child … under your watch. It is incredibly empowering for a child to be able to tell their story, to hear their parents say: “I believe you, I stand by you, let’s see how we can make this better.” So, your first instinct might be to turn a blind eye, coming up with stories to make this terrible thing just go away. But don’t do it, don’t you do it …. For the sake of your child’s healing and your sanity, brave up and embark on this difficult journey … don’t ever underestimate your presence in this process, it’s invaluable – you might not see the rewards immediately, but in the end it will bear fruits for both you and your child. Every parent’s worst nightmare – Bruna Dessena pg.14

Back to our story …. That Friday afternoon, everything inside myself shouted ….no, it cannot be true …. There must be a mistake … I even broke a rule by telling her that I’m not sure I believe her …. But as a counselor I know, children do not tell lies to get into trouble, they tell lies to get out of trouble… I took her to a nearby park to talk about it. She looked me straight in the eyes and say, mom, I’m not telling lies mom, I promise …. At that moment I knew we were in for a long hard winter…. So, while I was contemplating on what to do, keeping my child safe from the said perpetrator I did not haste into action. The following 2 weeks was quite a roller coaster, enough to have a mental breakdown. I made the call and asked to be admitted in VISTA clinic. I had visions at night of killing this man in his sleep … so I thought rather safe than sorry – let me just get out of circulation for a while and get out of overwhelm.

The overwhelm I felt I cannot describe …. What must I do first? I want to protect my already vulnerable child from further trauma, but I know what is expected from me according to law. I also knew what the “system” can do to my child … I was not going to let anybody take the decision making out of my hands. I knew how much harm can be done if we did not proceed with caution.

Let’s turn our attention to the Sexual Offenses act for a moment …

CRIMINAL LAW (SEXUAL OFFENSES AND RELATED MATTERS) AMENDMENT ACT 32 OF 2007. (Gazette No. 30599, Notice No. 1224 dated 14 December 2007. Commencement date: 16 December 2007,except Chapter 5: 21 March 2008 and Chapter 6: 16 June 2008)

CHAPTER 7 – GENERAL PROVISIONS – Part 1

Miscellaneous offences: Obligation to report commission of sexual offences against children or persons who are mentally disabled and attempt, conspiracy, incitement or inducing another person to commit sexual offence

Obligation to report commission of sexual offenses against children or persons who are mentally disabled

(1)(a) A person who has knowledge that a sexual offense has been committed against a child must report such knowledge immediately to a police official.

(b) A person who fails to report such knowledge as contemplated in paragraph (a), is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

(2) (a) A person who has knowledge, reasonable belief or suspicion that a sexual offense has been committed against a person who is mentally disabled must report such knowledge, reasonable belief or suspicion immediately to a police official.

(b) A person who fails to report such knowledge, reasonable belief or suspicion as contemplated in paragraph (a), is guilty of an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

(c) A person who in good faith reports such reasonable belief or suspicion shall not be liable to any civil or criminal proceedings by reason of making such report.

I know, your brain is hurting; your heart is aching …. You are tired. So let this be all for today …

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Teresa Oelofse

Backed with R50.00 On Mar 14, 2018

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