There’s a Fabian Society conference on Britishness tomorrow and The Guardian has initial thoughts from some of the speakers. Inevitably, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown will be there; she thinks post-apartheid South Africa is a model for Britain to follow. It’s an interesting choice in light of comments she made to Anthony Browne on the Today programme (RAM) last week. His contention that political correctness is behind the failure to deal with the problem of HIV-infected African immigrants was met with the following assertion by YAB:
“Is it true that the large majority of child molesters and abductors are white men and why aren’t we talking about that? Is there a conspiracy of silence?”The country with the highest incidence of rape, child rape and baby rape in the world is South Africa. An editorial in the South African Mercury addressed the issue last month:
Unfortunately, many of our children are literally under assault. Social workers and school principals, among others, are extremely concerned that child abuse is on the increase in a number of areas. Unfortunately holiday periods often see an increase in abuse, owing to factors like excessive drinking and social pressures. This abuse includes one of the most heinous forms of crimes committed against children: the rape of girls not yet in their teensWitchdoctors have helped spread the belief that sex with virgins cures Aids. Deference to cultural sensitivities has resulted in a failed HIV policy. Now what was Anthony Browne’s point again, Yasmin?
The problem is compounded by the inclination of some mothers to turn a blind eye to the sexual abuse of their daughters, which, of course, amounts to condonation of the offence, an attitude that encourages perpetrators to repeat their dastardly acts. Poverty, and the social dislocation that it generates, can be a primary underlying cause: the perpetrator is often the mother's lover and the malfunctioning family's main provider of food.
Child abuse is an ugly stain on post-apartheid South Africa.