South Africans are reeling after the shocking news that a six-year-old girl was raped on Saturday in the toilets at a restaurant in Pretoria. The horrific attack occurred at a Dros restaurant in Silverton.
The child had been in the play area when she went to the ladies’ toilets. The suspect allegedly grabbed her and took her into the men’s toilets. Her mother realised she was missing and was told by the child-minder that she’d gone to the bathroom. When the mom couldn’t find her daughter in the toilet, she heard a noise in the men’s and immediately tried to enter, but the door was blocked. It’s reported that the man lashed out at her.
A witness told The Citizen newspaper: “He was completely naked and so was the child. The child was bleeding from the groin.
“When some of the male customers saw this, they started assaulting the man. One of the managers locked the rest room door to protect the guy from mob justice.
“The child was rescued and police were called. There was a trail of blood in the rest room.”
One South African social media user summed up the feelings of many with her post on Wednesday:
“I hate putting things like this on Facebook… we have enough doom & gloom every day, as it is but I feel this needs to be spoken about. We are faced with horrifying stuff every day, on the news, headlines, social media, that most people generally don’t react anymore because we’re becoming possibly hardened to it or we don’t know what can be done about it… but something has to be done.
“Something NEEDS to be done.
“The fabric of our society is coming apart, has come apart. We’re a broken society. It’s heartbreaking. I get so angry but mostly I feel heartbroken.
“It’s only Wednesday morning & we hear about a 7 year old girl in Pretoria playing in a kids’ play area in a restaurant. Witnesses notice a young man lurking around, watching this particular girl in the play area. He’s asked what he’s doing there & says he’s waiting for someone.
“He was asked because his behaviour was suspicious. Not long after, the child goes to the toilet & he gets up following in the same direction. No one goes to Management at this point or to see what is going on with the man following the child.
“She gets raped in the toilet & it’s reported as ‘allegedly’ this man raped her. There is nothing allegedly about it! He was in the dock today.
“We also hear about a 17 year old girl having just given birth & being raped in hospital. We also hear about a woman being stopped in her car on the road by a police van & police – or men dressed as & pretending to be police – gang raping her through the night.
“We’re told we need to talk about these things. We are talking about them but if anything, it just seems to get worse & worse. I think the time for talking is over. I think action needs to be taken. Far more & far more severe sentences need to be passed down.
“I don’t know how we are going to solve this problem in our country but it’s seriously scary & completely out of hand. Why is it that there are men who think they are entitled & in their minds, this means they’re entitled to anything, even violating & forcibly taking our children’s virginity & leaving so much destruction & messed up lives in their wake?
“I want to scream. I want to cry. Do we need to bring our children up to trust no-one? This would be very, very sad. Thanks for listening to my rant 😥😠”
The suspect in the child rape case appeared in the Pretoria Regional Court on Tuesday on charges of rape, possession of drugs, intimidation and assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm (GBH).
His next court appearance will be on 2 October. Until then he remains in custody, and his name is not allowed to be published by law, until he has pleaded. However this has not stopped social media users, swept up in mob justice, from sharing the suspect’s name and photos of him. South Africans are urged to NOT share these photos as it is illegal and could harm the case.
Some black Twitter users – including EFF’s Julius Malema – have been sharing the photos along with comments insinuating that mainstream media are deliberately not publishing the accused’s name because he’s white.
One social media user said:
What bugs me is that people are freaking because there’s a white person involved, yet this literally happens every day to little kids all over the country, especially in the squatter camps… but no major outcry about it on a daily basis. All I know is that so many people on Twitter and FB have been posting the ‘facts’ before the guy has even been charged, which is unallowable in mainstream media, but people who aren’t even journalists – or have any idea of the repercussions – blindly share and freak out.
The South African government said Thursday evening: “Government has noted a disturbing video circulating on social media involving alleged rape of a child. We are outraged by the reported incident and call for wheels of justice to turn. We also appeal to the public to remain calm and allow the law to take its course.
“People should refrain from circulating the video as it is insensitive to the child and her family, and could jeopardize the legal processes.
“The perpetrator has been remanded in custody and will appear in court on 2 October.”