[OPINION] When Justice Fails a Mother
By Mpho Raphata
A toddler’s horror experience at daycare
When you are a mother, and you suspect that your child has been molested, the last thing you want to hear from authorities who are meant to help, are threats. Threats that if you speak to the media your children will be taken away from you. That is the life of a Mabopane mother in Pretoria. The mother is struggling to come to terms with what has happened to her three-year-old daughter.
She recalls with tears in her eyes the daughter’s screams from up the road on that fateful afternoon just over a month ago. How her toddler could hardly walk from the pain she was feeling. How she had to carry her daughter all the way home from the local day care.
The mother who is still visibly distraught recalled how her daughter complained of abdominal pains and could hardly open her legs when she took her to the local clinic for a check-up, how nurses at the clinic were unable to pin down the diagnosis. The nurses referred the mother to George Mukhari hospital where two doctors confirmed that the toddler’s hymen was torn and she had some sort of penetration.
She is pained by how the day care is not able to give her explanation as to what happened to her daughter, how she had to ask what happened from the school, with no one social workers are using the fact that her children were one taken to a place of safety as reason to judge her parenting and or whether he child may have been molested while in her care.
A month down the line, the social workers appointed by the Social development department are no closer to coming to a conclusion on what really happened. It seems to me that their efforts are more towards protecting the day care than the two toddlers involved. In fact, the parents of the toddler boy, who allegedly abused his classmate, are yet to be informed of the incident and the allegations against their child a month on, one wonders what it will take for proper action to be taken.
From our investigations, the daycare, Lesedi La Batho, has not been properly registered and the social development department is doing its best to get the institution registered. It is a pity not as much resource and vigour is been used to try resolve this case.
I wonder how threats, will help heal the scars from the three-year-old toddler who inevitably will be scarred for life by this experience. How her mother who herself needs counselling will move on from this ordeal, however. Whatever happened to this toddler, my sense is she is getting a raw deal either way. I also feel that help comes to you if you have a certain economic status and you are perceived in a particular way.
Today I came face to face with how people get classed and get help according to social standing. The social development department always advocates looking after children and how they protect their rights. I ask myself MEC Nandi Mayathula- Khoza if, in this case, your ethos and principals were applied.
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