Child Abuse Cases Tarnish Grape Valley

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By Chrispin Inambao AUSSENKEHR THERE is an increase in the number of child abuse cases being reported at Aussenkehr in the Grape Valley, nestled on a piece of pristine land vegetated with green fruit vines in an area bordering Namibia and its giant southern neighbour South Africa. Speaking to New Era in a recent interview, Mathias Hepute, the security manager who is also responsible for safety and health at the Aussenkehr Grape Farm, said in one of the cases reported, a mother poured boiling oil on her adopted teenage daughter. The victim aged 13 was brutalised after she took a piece of cooked meat from a pot and apart from having boiled oil poured over her, the suspect, who is a pre-primary school teacher, further locked up the victim in her shack at Aussenkehr. He revealed the same parent is a repeat offender as she was also investigated for beating up her biological child so severely that the child had to be hospitalised for over a week. In another severe case of child abuse that was referred to the police, a farm labourer sexually abused his stepdaughter while her mother was visiting her village in the Kavango Region. After defiling the child, the suspect also inflicted serious injuries on her tiny leg with a hammer. Hepute said the child’s injuries inside her genitalia were so horrific that she had to be hospitalised for six months at Karasburg. The man was later arrested. In a separate case, a woman who had differences with her live-in lover swallowed copious amounts of fertiliser with the intent to have an abortion. She was rushed to hospital and the couple were advised to reconcile their petty differences. Yet in a separate case, a woman dumped her infant with the father of the child because he apparently failed to pay for the child’s upkeep. Another instance of child negligence involved a minor who has since morphed into a street kid after his father spared him compassion but not the rod after he requested his relatives to send the child to him. Hepute also complained that some women employ children aged between seven and 10 years from the northern regions to take care of their offspring while they are at work. “Since 2003, we also had quite a number of primary school girls who got impregnated by older men,” said the security manager, who further noted: “children are living under poor conditions and they are not given enough food to eat.” Another common crime at Aussenkehr, whose population is estimated at around 17 000 and is located around a thousand kilometres south of Windhoek, is one of wife bashing.