Normalised deviant behaviour – the gradual process through which unacceptable practices become acceptable – may be the trigger for a person to commit offences in public places. This is according to psychologist Nkateko Magoro, who was commenting on the alleged rape of a 7-year-old girl by a 21-year-old man.

The incident happened at a restaurant in Silverton, east of Pretoria last weekend.

It is reported that the family of the victim does not want to appear in public or speak to the media.

Magoro says for the alleged incident to have happened in public, it is a display of deviant behaviour that they had got away with before.

He says getting away with illegal offences in private, prompts an individual to display such behaviour in public.

“Usually, when people are able to get away with things they become more and more explorative in terms of what else can they get away with, meaning that these particular people might have gotten away with something in a private space and then because of that, it made it to be acceptable or normalised to them. Then, they’re thinking that even in other spaces they can be able to get away with such.”

Meanwhile, civic activist organisation, #NotInMyName, is calling for a harsher punishment of the alleged rapist.

The organisation says it has learnt that the accused is intending to plead insanity.

“It would be a travesty of justice if the law, which was, by the way, formulated based on an oppressive system, goes lenient on him under any circumstances. So, we can’t have leniency. We can’t let it slide because then what is it saying about people we keep calling the future of our nation,” says #NotInMyNaMe Spokesperson Mo’ Senne.

Magoro says this was just an act of violence against someone who could not defend themselves.

“There is nothing sexually appealing about the minor per se. We regard that as purely sexual violence. So, it’s simply violence against women and that is expressed through sex or sexual assault. There is nothing we can say a minor or a women or a man is sexually appealing to their rapist. It’s just a person’s expression of violence against a minor.”

The alleged perpetrator has been arrested and remanded in custody until his next court appearance on Tuesday.

Some parents who frequent the Watermeyer Dros restaurant in Silverton, east of Pretroia where the girl was allegedly raped say they now fear for the safety of their children.

The Dros head office has issued a statement saying it has been in contact with the girl’s family and is investigating the matter. It has directed all media queries to the police.

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