‘Rape rape’ games: Is sex education to blame?

Cape Town - Children as young as 10 have been playing the game called "rape rape", in which schoolboys simulate rape with girls whom they chase and catch, according to a report in the Cape Times.

The Western Cape education department said it will be sending district officials to schools across the province to speak to principals as part of a full investigation, despite having received no reports of the game from the public.

Yet the executive director of Childline, Ricki Fransman, told News24 that Childline’s crisis phone line has received some calls with regard to the game.

Fransman, who is anticipating more calls as awareness grows, said: “The calls have been along the lines of wanting us to come out and do our awareness talks at the schools with both the learners and adults - educators and parents.”

What are children taught?

Primary school children are not taught about sexuality, sexual health, or reproductive health.

They are however taught about HIV/Aids, abuse (sexual, physical, emotional), gender and equality empowerment, stigmas and discrimination.

The Western Cape education department said that across all phases, the Life Orientation curriculum “already deals with sex and sexuality at appropriate levels”.

It is not until Grade 7, at the start of the Senior Phase, when children are provided with explicit sex education.

Should we lower the age of sex ed?

Kathleen Dey, director of Rape Crisis told News24, dealing with sex in high school is the “correct age” to be addressing the issues.  “Children younger than this have not yet reached the developmental level required in order to understand the consequences of their actions,” she said.

Fransman agrees that any information taught to children should be “appropriate” for the age of the child.

However, she said that children as young as 5 are able to understand the difference between right and wrong - arguing that this is the age where adults can start talking to a child about appropriate and inappropriate touches.

She added: “As children enter their teenage years, it is more appropriate to look at issues with regard to consensual sex and rape, as it is stipulated and set out in the Sexual Offences Act.”

Is SA’s sex education good enough?

According to a 2013 Unesco report, South Africa’s sex education curriculum fails to make the grade in the majority of topics.

Looking at the gaps in sex education content and approach, Unesco said South Africa’s schooling was “missing or weak” in 8 out of 12 topics, including sexuality, sexual behaviour, gender rights, empowerment and age appropriateness.

Dey, meanwhile, argues that South Africa’s sex education curriculum is “strongly slanted towards the issue of HIV/Aids”.

She said the curriculum should be reviewed to include more about the “myths and stereotypes” that promote rape and rape culture.

Unesco has launched a regional campaign across 21 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa to implement a “good quality” curriculum by 2015, which includes training for teachers, health and social workers.

A spokesperson from Unesco told News24 that the reports of the ‘rape rape’ game in the Western Cape had come to the organisation’s attention, adding that it only reiterates how “absolutely essential” a good curriculum is.

Is educating children the problem?

Fransman however pointed out that there have been “great strides” in sex education and life skills issues, but she said with the rate of child abuse in South Africa, the country needs to focus on adults: educators, caregivers, community members and others.

She said: “It is not helpful and will not have a great enough impact in combating crimes against children to only be educating the child. Adults need to be educated, as they are most often the first person that a child will disclose to if the child has been abused.”

Dey also called for more focus on South Africa’s adult community, arguing that the ‘rape rape’ game is a symptom of a larger “societal disease”.

She said: “Adults should be the ones taking ownership of the issue”.

'Serious problem with our society'

It is a point echoed by the provincial minister of education, Debbie Schafer, who said on Monday that the game reflected a “serious problem with our society”.

She added: “The fact that primary school children even know what rape is and how it is done is tragic”.

The MEC said that with “unacceptably high” incidents of sexual violence in the country, one way of combating such incidents is to teach children from a young age what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.

For Dey, the real question about the ‘rape rape’ game should not be asked about the children, “but about the growing culture of rape in South Africa and what adult behaviour is teaching our children”.

Zuma Etolls 2014-08-20 11:43:18 AM
No. Lack of discipline is to blame. Bring back the cane.
John Madhiri 2014-08-20 11:49:04 AM
Smart phones porn , gmo.food , hormonial development too early List is.long and comprehensive Sad testament of development
Knersis 2014-08-20 11:50:26 AM
Not too long ago 12 year old were given permission to legally have sex. You reap what you sow. Bring back proper discipline, the rod.
Nin Ja Kitty 2014-08-20 11:59:03 AM
Parents and the system are to blame for this. The system in terms of the media exposure of rape cases and the leniency given to the offenders. Children are grossly underestimated, of course it would be a game to them. Parents take accountability for your children. Stop, listen and hear what your child is saying and watch what they are doing. Tired as we are...... we owe it to our children to look after them and guide them.
Marcel John 2014-08-20 12:26:01 PM
ZERO discipline in this country...at ANY level
ReaperAJ 2014-08-20 12:44:48 PM
I educated my children as young as 6 years old about sex - in an appropriate way and only to answer the questions they asked as honestly as possible. I explained what sexual abuse is to them and why they shouldn't allow anyone to touch them in certain places or ways. I did this because I was molested as a child and raped at 15. I would rather they knew what it's all about than grow up believing old wives tales about where babies come from and so on. To date, my children have not displayed any traits to disprove my theory that knowledge is power and education is a good preventative. They have never conducted themselves in such a way as to cause suspicion about their motives. They fully understand what personal space is and where the line is drawn. The problem in my opinion is that too many parents and the education department refuse to see the light that these things need to be addressed and our children's questions need to be answered honestly. Telling kids that God made them is a load of nonsense in my opinion. That absolves humans of all responsibility when it comes to sex and the resulting pregnancies and diseases. It basically tells them that sex has nothing to do with it. We need to drop the shame surrounding natural sexual behaviour and teach our kids that it's ok to ask questions, and it's ok to talk about it. We also need to be less apathetic to what movies and sexual stimuli they are being exposed to. Check their cell phones, don't allow them to run around unsupervised at malls and friends houses and exert more control over their day to day lives. Be sure you know who is minding your children and if they are adequate. Children are naturally curious about sex and if their curiosity is not properly managed and dealt with, there will be unwelcome consequences. Sticking ones head in the sand is not going to fix the problem.
Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg 2014-08-20 12:45:29 PM
The question if sex education should be given earlier is obsolete when primary school children already play rape games.
Charms 2014-08-20 02:01:00 PM
What happened to parents saying - These are your private parts, NO ONE is suppose to touch your there - Then when they get to an age of better understanding they can learn as a teenager more about sex..
Mario Haddon 2014-08-20 02:13:04 PM
Well said Reaper
Toi Toy Story Mtshali 2014-08-20 02:20:02 PM
After that game they must play “Jail Jail”.