The family of a grade 12 learner, who was allegedly raped on her way from school by an unknown suspect in Bochum, Limpopo, has asked for assistance to ensure that she returns to school. The learner attends school at a neighbouring village that is about 7km from her home and walks through the bushes to get there.

She and other learners have been walking to school since classroom learning resumed on June 8 as their government-funded scholar transport has not been available.

The only school located at Brana village, outside Bochum, was closed in 2018 due to low enrollment. Learners were then moved to schools at neigbouring villages.

The mother of the Grade 12 rape survivor, who is a learner at Ramotshabi Secondary School, says her daughter was raped by a knife-wielding unknown suspect on 12 June.

“While they were walking to school, because their scholar transport is no longer available, they came across a man who stopped them and took a chain and a knife out on them. They were four; he told three of them to leave and he remained with my daughter. The other kids ran back home and told us that my daughter had been taken,” the mother said.

The mother says her traumatised daughter has not been able to go to school since the incident.

“I just need help to make sure that she goes back to school; her and her sister because they both stopped going. I don’t have money to get them transport. Even the social workers advised that she should no longer walk to school as she is traumatised. I was hoping that she would be able to pass her matric and have a better future.”

She says social workers have been offering counseling services to her entire family.

“We try to talk to her and console her because there are moments where she is quiet and I can see that she is hurt. Even I am deeply hurt but I try to be strong so she does not see how hurt I am.”

Meanwhile, Limpopo Social Development Spokesperson, Witness Tiva, has urged communities to work together to fight the scourge of gender-based violence.

“The effects of GBV are very devastating. Looking at this particular case, now learners are afraid to go to schools, they are fearing for their safety hence we are continuing to call on all community members to join hands with government to ensure that we put to and end the abuse of women and children. We have dispatched a team of social workers who have already started providing psycho-social support to the victim, her family and other affected learners and the community at large.”

Limpopo Education Spokesperson Tidimalo Chuene says the department will comment at a later stage.

In the video below, gender-based violence is highlighted as one of South Africa’s most pressing problems:

Below are some steps that one can take after being sexually assaulted: