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GUARD ALLEGEDLY RAPES GIRL WITH AUTISM AT FLATS

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MBABANE – The whole point of having a security guard is to ensure safety.

However, in a shocking turn of events, a 13-year-old girl suffering from autism, whose identity has been withheld for ethical reasons because she is a minor and also alleged survivor of rape. The minor was allegedly subjected to a horrific ordeal that has left tenants of a block of flats in Mbabane reeling. Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) encompasses a broad range of conditions characterised by challenges with special skills, repetitive behaviour, speech and nonverbal communication. It is a lifelong development disability that affects how individuals communicate and interact with the world.

It is alleged that a security guard who is said to have been stationed by a security company, allegedly raped the very same person who he was hired to ensure thier safety and that of other tenants. The alleged rape incident is said to have occurred at a guardhouse, which the security guard uses to monitor people coming in and out of the premises. The incident has brought to light the dangers of sexual violence. It is alleged that the incident happened last Thursday evening at around 7pm.

According to reports, the survivour, referred to as *Jena, was allegedly lured by the security guard. It is alleged that the security guard, whose state of sobriety was reportedly questionable, proceeded to commit the heinous act without the use of protection, exposing Jena, not only to mental and physical trauma but also the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

Screamed

It is alleged that when the girl realised what her attacker is said to have been doing to her, she screamed for help. The security guard is then said to have fled from the guardhouse and the matter was reported to the police for investigation. This distressing event has come to the fore at a time when the country is actively participating in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based violence, a period dedicated to promoting non-violence against women and children. The timing of this alleged assault serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need to address the pervasive issue of gender-based violence (GBV) in our society.

Noteworthy, Eswatini is one of the countries around the world with tough laws ensuring the safety of children. One such law is the Children’s Welfare and Protection Act. Also, the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act is to ensure the safety of children. When reporters from Eswatini News arrived at the block of flats where the alleged rape is said to have taken place, some of the occupants did not hesitate to recall the incident, though they said they could not give further details as the matter had already been reported to the police.

Hospital

It was also gathered that the minor was also taken to hospital, due to the physical trauma she is said to have suffered and also medical check-ups considering the nature of the incident. The alleged rapist is said to have referred to the teenager as mshana, a word which also means niece or nephew. It could not be established whether the alleged culprit is a relative or he had used the term mshana just for communicating. It is not uncommon for an adult to refer to any child as mshana locally as a way of reference, while children can refer to adult males as malume which means uncle.

The deputy Chief Police Information and Communications Officer, Inspector Nosipho Mnguni, confirmed that a 31-year-old man from Gobholo in Mbabane has been arrested in connection with the alleged rape. The arrest has provided a glimmer of hope for justice in the wake of this deeply troubling incident. The name of the arrested person is known to this publication, but will not be mentioned for ethical reasons as he had not yet appeared in court by the time of compiling this report.

The alleged rape has not only incited widespread outrage, but has also galvanised the residents of the flats where the incident took place.
The tenants’ collective anger and concern reflect the gravity of the situation and the urgent need for measures to prevent such atrocities from occurring in the future. In the past, experts such as psychologists have warned that the ramifications of rape extend far beyond the immediate physical violation, as it could put the survivor’s life in jeopardy.

Further, that if left untreated, the traumatic experience and potential infections can have severe and even lethal consequences. “This sobering reality underscores the urgent need for comprehensive support and protection for survivors of sexual violence,” a psychologist previously noted. An attempt was made to reach a manager at the security company, where the alleged culprit is said to have been working. However, the person contacted said that the right authority to contact was the company that owns the flats where the incident happened. The officials from the company could not be reached for comment. The name of the company or the flats where the incident happened will not be mentioned for ethical reasons to protect the minor from being identified.

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Should exam questions be in both English and siSwati?