GOBABIS: The safety of learners at the Wennie du Plessis High School hostel has been thrown into the limelight after recent reports of child pornography and indecent exposure by learners at this school.
Reports of a 13-year-old girl who had to go for trauma counselling after she was forcibly undressed, had her legs spread apart and her private parts exposed by fellow female hostel mates at the prestigious school in Gobabis has sent shockwaves amongst the education fraternity in the region.
Nampa was reliably informed that similar activities had been taking place on a frequent basis in the girls’ dormitories at the school hostel.
However, the matter was never reported to the school authorities, as many learners at the school hostel fear victimisation.
According to the source – a hostel-dwelling leaner at the school who preferred anonymity out of fear of victimisation – undressing each other and ‘modeling’ naked to the others are regular occurrences at the school hostel.
“We would watch as some learners fondle each other’s private parts, take pictures and model to others late at night in the hostel rooms. Those who are often made to do that by force usually remain quiet because of threats from the bigger girls who do these acts,” she said.
The 13-year-old victim was also abused by older girls, and was forced into the act because “she was clean underneath”.
“They say *** (name withheld) had a clean vagina, and she must therefore model for them”, said the source.
Several other girls this agency spoke to confessed that there was no strict control over their activities at late hours, as supervisors hardly called on them.
The mother of the Grade Eight victim, who is still struggling to come to terms with what had happened to her daughter, expressed concern over the safety of children living in the hostel as supervision is not strictly enforced.
In an exclusive interview with Nampa, the mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of her daughter, said she only got to hear of what happened to her daughter two days later.
“No one from the school called me to inform me of what had happened. I only got a generic letter some two days later, asking me to accompany my child to school the next day.
It was only when I got there that I was informed of what had transpired,” the livid mother said.
She said the parents of the girls accused of carrying out the dreadful deeds on their hostel mate were not present on the day, and neither was the school principal.
“It seems the school did not take the matter seriously. I was expecting the principal, as head of the school, to be present so that she could allay my fears for the safety of my child, but she was a no-show,” the woman said.
The mother has since withdrawn her traumatised daughter, who hails from Okahandja, from the school hostel out of fear of a repeat of such incidents.
She expressed concern that the hostel authorities have no proper contacts with parents of learners in the hostel, and as such, the safety of the learners is largely compromised.
“Even on the application forms for the hostel, there is no provision for the parents’ contact numbers in cases of emergencies,” she noted.
Omaheke Regional Director for Education, Natalia Goagoses, said at an earlier media conference this week that she was not happy with the manner in which the school handled the matter, but promised to do further investigations.