Hospital Staff And Police Slow To Act To Sexual Assault
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 4, 2003
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA--Police and hospital authorities were slow to act Monday when patients at a local private hospital reported witnessing a sexual assault upon a 13-year-old girl.
Rosana Petersen and Chantal Snyman, patients at Entabeni Hospital annex, said they were stunned when they walked into one ward they saw a man from another ward laying on top of the girl who has Down syndrome. The man's pants were down and the girl's top had been removed.
"I screamed at him and he immediately got up and left the ward," Peterson told the Daily News. "I alerted the hospital authorities, but it seemed that they were not perturbed. They took it calmly and removed the man to a private ward."
"I saw it," said Snyman. "They cannot tell me that I did not see this man on top of that girl. He had removed her top."
Petersen decided to phone the local police emergency number to report the crime. It took some time for the police to finally arrive, she said.
Police Captain Gugu Sabela confirmed that a complaint of attempted rape was recorded.
"The police were very busy at the time they received the call and since it was an attempted rape complaint, they went there after finishing what they were busy with in the first place," said Sabela.
"The child was hysterical and she was screaming," said Peterson. "I insisted that the matron call the child's parents and said they had a right to know that their daughter had been attacked."
The mother and a doctor did arrive to calm the girl down.
Graeme Kendall, general manager of the hospital, confirmed that there had been an incident.
"We are conducting a full investigation and we will be speaking to all parties, and then we will report our findings," said Kendall.