… as they warn of rising cases of rape of women in Viljoenskroon
Police from the service’s crime prevention unit and its women’s network, as well as department of health representatives, last week visited schools in the Free State towns of Bronville and Viljoenskroon to discuss a myriad of issues with girl learners, including teenage pregnancy and rising cases of rape.
Addressing learners at Chris Hani Park Primary School, Constable Tshidi Mohoje said the visit was to make the learners aware of the dangers teenage pregnancy and the challenges of becoming parents at an early age.
“You must make sure that you don’t increase the statistics of teenage pregnancy. Becoming pregnant means you are going to resume an additional duty of parenting, while on the other hand you are still a schoolchild. Avoid doing the duties of being a child and parent at the same time,” said Mohoje.
Boitumelo Makhoere, an administration clerk with the police, told the young girls that abstaining from unprotected sex was not just about trying to avoid falling pregnant but was also about avoiding infection with HIV and other STIs.
There is a strong link between early sexual activity and the spread of HIV and other STIs, Makhoere told her young audience. She encouraged them to focus on their books and to stay away from behaviour that risks them wrecking their dreams of a better and prosperous tomorrow.
Nursing sister Lerato Mbizeni told the girls to always remember that once they have started menstruation it meant they could get pregnant anytime they have unprotected sex.
“I always discourage teenagers from participating in sexual activities because if you have a child while still a teenager your future will be disrupted,” said Mbizeni.
She added: “However, if you feel you can’t resist the temptation, please take prevention measures available at clinics such as birth control pills and condoms.”
At the end of the educational visit, the headmaster of the school, Madilo Miya, received gifts of menstrual pads to be distributed to girls from poor families for use when on their periods.
Apparently some of the girls are forced to stay away from school during their menstrual period because they did not have pads and would rather stay at home to ensure they would not embarrass themselves at school.
“I thank the police for their gesture and the message they imparted to the female learners. We have naughty kids who will learn from this visit that it is not important to have kids while still kids themselves and that they must abstain,” said Miya.
Meanwhile in Viljoenskroon police have made an appeal to female residents not to walk in secluded spaces to avoid falling victim to rape.
Station commander Lieutenant Colonel Kolisang Sello said this appeal comes in the wake of several cases of rape of women walking alone in open spaces being reported.
“Several cases of rape have been reported and this has raised a concern to the Viljoenskroon police. Ladies are more vulnerable as they are usually the victims of rape. I’m making a humble request to the ladies or the females of Rammulotsi to exercise safety measures so as to avoid this kind of crimes been committed,” said Kolisang.
Among safety measures he spoke off was the avoidance of walking the streets alone from midnight by women.
He said women walking from taverns, churches, night vigils or parties at that time of the night are more vulnerable to attack by unruly elements that roam the streets at night looking for their next victim.
“The advice is that they rather walk in groups or be in the company of trusted male friends or rather sleeping over until the following day,” said Kolisang.
He added that women must avoid drinking excessively in public as criminals observe their drinking patterns and follow them home to either rob and or rape them.
He said areas that must be avoided at all costs by women during the night include open spaces near Adeline Meje squatter camp, open trenches between Khaya and Lucas Tsheke as well as the open space between Lucas Tsheke and Evan’s park.
He added that brandishing valuable items such as cell phones and jewellery at night is an invitation to be robbed by criminals.
“Safety starts with you thus residents must ensure that they are safe where they are. They must trust their instincts and if they are suspecting any person, they must not hesitate to call our Police Emergency numbers like 10 111 or 08600 10 111,” he said.