7 months ago
Private social workers Tshepiso Matlala and Dakalo Tshisaphungo say men who are related to young girls groom them to expect rape. Photo by Collen Mashaba  ~ 

They don't always hide in the bushes waiting to attack unsuspecting victims. 

Often, loving and trusted members of a household or family walk around with evil in their hearts. 


Dakalo Tshisaphunge and Tshepiso Motlala have been working within the criminal justice system for 10 years and are now running their own private practice.

They believe rape perpetrators often target vulnerable families, building trust in a relationship, often helping out with money.

And then, they pounce on the unsuspecting victims and rape them. The victims are often no more than toddlers.

Dakalo Tshisaphunge and Tshepiso Motlala describe this as a typical mindset of rape perpetrators.

They describe the behaviour as sexual grooming.

They told Daily Sun perpetrators build trust with the victims and their families so victims are scared of reporting the crime.

They start exposing victims to pornography and touch their private parts as part of their secret.

“Thereafter, the rape takes place more than once until there are signs of physical damage,” said Tshisaphunge.

“Sometimes the parents discover what is going on. Often it continues until the victim is old enough to report to the police.

“Often victims fear to report the matter because of the relationship that has been created.

“They fear rejection, splitting the family and that they might not be believed.”

She said often the perpetrator has been taking care of the family financially and they don’t want to risk losing that.

She said they target vulnerable families, especially those without fathers or husbands.

Motlala explained the impact of rape. She said on-going counselling is critical to minimise the risk of a breakdown.

“It’s a lifetime of grief for victims while their families are faced with the guilt of having had brought the perpetrator into their homes. They further feel they failed their children by not seeing the signs,” she said.

“Victims often grow to have trust issues, while others become sexually active in an attempt to regain the power they feel was taken away from them. Counselling is very important to help cope with the situation.”

Motlala said perpetrators were themselves often victims of sexual abuse when they were young.

“It’s important for parents, guardians and ordinary members of the family that they should not be too trusting,” said Motlala.

“Parents should listen carefully to the children and listen for hints that something might be wrong.”

She said it is not only girls who are victims of rape. Little boys encounter the same behaviour from both female and male perpetrators.

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