By ‘Mamohaila Rampo
Sexual violence is a widespread problem which happens in every community and affects people of all genders and ages, with this, Women Issues Activist Lintle Ramatla has embarked on a campaign to educate school children about sexual assault.
Ramatla said the Rape Awareness at Schools campaign instills in children from as early as pre- school that sex is not a taboo and it needs to be taught so as to protect children from sexual crimes.
The campaign has been derived from Ramatla‘s famous TikTok page called “Hello! Mohaisane”
Since it is still an off-limits conversation to talk about sex to children in some parts of the country, Ramatla said it is crucial to educate children about rape and other sexual assault related issues so that they know when they are touched in an inappropriate manner.
“Most of this issues of assault are spoken about behind closed doors but that does not benefit children in any way, “said Ramatla.”
Speaking as a survivor of rape from as age seven to eight, Ramatla says being raped is not just physical violence, it is a mental violence which is not easily forgotten. Because most rape victims do not live their lives fully after being molested instead they participate and lead in making uninformed decisions as a result of rape.
By educating children on the concepts of consent, the campaign empowers them to not only make decisions about their own bodies, but teaches them to respect other people’s bodies and helps build healthy relationships.
As proof that more people are being molested behind closed doors, Ramatla said more people confide in her. That is why she took it upon herself to create a campaign that will generate a rape free environment for future generation.
“What is most petrifying about living in this era, is the fact that not only elders are being molested but innocent children as well. Pre-scholars also fall victims of sexual abuse,” said Ramatla.
Mainly the campaign targets children from pre scholars to tertiary.
She said since sex is such a taboo in Lesotho a lot of children are frightened to report such crimes which lets perpetrator walk free.
Rape Awareness at Schools targets first years in tertiary to make them conscious of the dangers of sexual assault, which is frequently influenced by peer pressure which leads to early and unintended pregnancies. Ramatla said most first years are manipulated into believing that they are imprudent before being molested. She said many at times when some tertiary student’s especial girls become targets of sexual assault because they fail to accept their home situations and want lavish lifestyles.
Ramatla instigated the campaign with her money, without any financial support, she said one of the challenges that she faces is absence of transport to and from schools, also she struggles with accommodations. To date Ramatla said no one has had interest in sponsoring the campaign however she still perceivers because she sees the biggest picture.
She mentioned that she is excited about this campaign because it is close to home
“This campaign is my baby, I want to warm people and educate this little once so that they do not fall in the trap of perpetrators,” said Ramatla.
Not only are adults assaulted but also children conducive for both children and parents
One of the schools that were visited by Ramatla recently was St.Catherines High school. She mentioned that she taught girls about the dangers of drugs, and how toxins can easily lead them to being raped.
On tiktok Ramatla uses #RapeFeeEnvironment #RapeAwarenessAtSchools and #SheIsFemalePower to promote the campaign in schools.