Shop owner out on bail for sex assault charge

A 53-year-old shop owner in Pelican Park was arrested for the sexual assault of an eight-year-old boy.

The man appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on July 13 and is out on R500 bail. The next court appearance is Friday August 12.

Grassy Park police confirmed that a case of sexual assault had been opened on Sunday July 10 after the alleged incident on Saturday July 9.

Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith, spokesperson for Grassy Park police, said the alleged incident took place at about 3pm when the boy was sent to the shop by his father. The boy’s father told the police that the suspect allegedly “played with his son’s private parts”.

“The shop owner told the boy to wait for him at the back of the shop, according to the father. When he returned home, the father asked the boy where he was, but he only said that he was waiting for the shop owner. It was only the next day, after his father asked again that the boy cried and informed his father what had happened.”

John Bailey, chairperson of the Pelican Park Home Owners’ Association, had heard about the incident and advised parents to safeguard their children.

“Parents and guardians must always make sure they know where their kids are, who they are playing with and where because nowadays there is this drive that children need to be entertained all the time and that just shows a breakdown in communication in households. We rather send our kids outside instead of imparting good values and principles. Ultimately the safety of our children remains our responsibility as parents.”

Southern Mail asked our Help at Hand columnist and clinical psychologist Carin-Lee Masters what impact sexual abuse could have on a victim.

“Sexual abuse is always emotionally and psychologically devastating for the victim. The younger the victim is, the more devastating the effects.

“There may not be any outward visible scars but the inner psychological damage can be life-long and more so if the victim does not receive intense professional psychological help, usually play therapy for children, and for a significant period.”

Ms Masters said children are physically and psychologically not ready for any sexual acts, and even more specifically not with a grown-up.

“When sexual acts are forced on them by an adult, for the sake of the adult’s perverse sexual needs, the child experiences a deep sense of his inner self being ripped into pieces.

“They cannot make sense of what has happened to them, but they know their inner world has been dramatically and severely interrupted. Usually, sometimes not immediately they experience all kinds of post-traumatic symptoms including disturbed sleep, bed-wetting, fears and phobias of all kinds including fear of adults, they may act out aggressively, and develop distorted beliefs about themselves, others and the world,” said Ms Masters.

Southern Mail asked Ms Masters if the victim could develop behaviourable problems.

“The world is experienced as a dangerous place where people do bad things to you. At other times, in an effort to overcome a sense of powerlessness experienced with having been abused, they may identify with the perpetrator and act out abusively toward others, sexually or other forms of abuse. Not all survivors of sexual abuse re-abuse others but if no therapy intervention has taken place to process the trauma, boys (more than girls) will be prone to re-enacting what they experienced as a way to master having felt so frightened and powerless.

“In this re-enactment they may feel they have taken some power back, at least temporarily. But then may become addicted to this feeling of power and like any addiction, the feeling of power over another ‘weaker’ person needs to be re-experienced again and again. Hence often repeating the abuse is common but is not the rule. Other victims of abuse, more especially girls, tend to hurt themselves and not others. So they may be more prone to self-harm, self-destructive and suicidal behaviour, depression, anxiety and various other mood disorders.”