Teens accused of rape expelled from school

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

TWO teenagers accused of raping a family member in 2018 have reportedly been expelled from school and are unable to gain access to a new school.

According to a relative of the victim, Julia September (*not real name), who is also the mother of one of the suspects, at the time of the incident the two boys were 13 and 17 years old and in Grade 7 and 6 at Martti Ahtisaari and Endjeno primary schools, respectively.

She said the teenagers were subsequently denied placement at other schools because of fear they would sexually assault fellow learners. “One of them (the suspects) is my son while the other one is my younger brother’s son. The victim is also my younger brother’s daughter from a different mother.

“At the time of the incident, they were all living with my mother at the village while my brother and I were away with work,” September remembered. She added that the two were arrested and kept in police custody for six months but were later released without bail as they were minors.

She is worried that the case is taking  long to be completed and that the boys were not allowed to be admitted to any school. “I have sleepless nights and I have stopped going to work so that I can take the suspects to court. If I don’t take them, I will be arrested because I am their guardian. I lost hope, I am stressed and I lost weight. I try to forget the situation I am in but I can’t,” September said.

On this point, executive director in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Sanet Steenkamp said no school can expel a learner, as only her office has the power to do so.

September said the case was recently postponed again. She took the kids to court several times but the case was repeatedly postponed because one of them did not have a lawyer or there was no magistrate to preside over the hearing.

The victim, who was five years old at the time of the assault, currently lives at a safe house. It is understood that her mother had disavowed her since the incident. “She is saying we should see what we can do with the child. She does not call me or if I call her she doesn’t pick up,” September added.