Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) representatives were in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court this morning 25 February 2021, supporting two animal welfare organisations Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) and The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA)- that have brought a case of bestiality before the court. The NSPCA has brought charges of sexual assault (Sexual Offenses Act no. 32 of 2007) and Animal cruelty (Animal Protections Act no. 71 of 1962).
The case was remanded to 15 April 2021 for DNA.
The link between Animal Abuse and Child Abuse
WMACA Founding Director Miranda Jordan links, supported by research (Schleuter, S. et al. 1999:316-327), the abuse of animals to child abuse “It has been well researched since the 1980’s that cruelty towards and abuse of animals is a significant indicator of violence towards human sexuality and this includes rape, child rape and murder” further she emphasises, “The seriousness of animal cruelty and cannot be minimized by the courts when perpetrators are brought before them as by merely giving them a slap on the wrist as they allow a dangerous person back into their community”
Luke Lamprecht, Advocacy Manager and Child Protection Specialist, looks at the abuse of animals as speaking directly to a lack of empathy he quotes Bradley Miller “teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar”. Due to the fairly recent implementation of laws pertaining to children directly, the courts and the general public must be informed of and educated on the link between animal abuse and child abuse and subsequently the dangers of side-lining bestiality as the serious crime that it is.
Cora Bailey of Claw says “There is far too much violence in South Africa and its becoming a norm we seem to be accepting of as a society. Included in the victims of violence are animals and children. We should not judge which cruelty is worse than any other, it is all cruelty and should be condemned and fought against.” She challenges the rationalization that ‘at least it was a dog that was raped so they leave our women and children alone’. Cora challenges communities to report these cases as we should be outraged by these acts of sexual violence against animals and not minimize them as a lesser crime in our society.
BEASTIALITY is defined as the sexual abuse by a human being of an animal. The mere definition minimizes the brutality involved in the act, the violation of a lesser being by one who possesses an element of power.
When assessing animal rape, it is important to remember that when sexual assault against an animal is perpetrated by a young child it is a diagnostic criteria for conduct disorder which is a precursor to anti-social personality disorder. That personality disorder is a predictor of them perpetrating further violence.
In fact, bestiality alone is the only single factor that if present significantly predicated recurrent future acts of violence. (Johnson SA, 2018:403-415).
Expert testimony from a researcher on the link between animal abuse and child abuse is expected to be put before the court.
For further reading:
Johnson SA. Animal cruelty, pet abuse & violence: the missed dangerous connection. Forensic Res Criminol Int J . 2018;6(6):403-415. DOI: 10.15406/frcij.2018.06.00236
Schleuter S, FR Ascione, P Arkow. Animal abuse and law enforcement. Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Animal Abuse: Linking the Circles of Compassion for Prevention and Intervention. 1999;316–327.