As incidents of abuse against women and children continue to make the headlines, police are working around the clock to turn things around and recently visited Bulumko High School, in Khayelitsha to caution young girls against abuse.
They also advised the girls about services offered by the police.
Part of the campaign, they said, was to dismantle myths associated with police, one of which was that their only role was to arrest people.
Lieutenant Colonel Regina Tebogo Modisane said they wanted girls to open up about abuse in their families and neighbourhoods and that they wanted to build trust between young people and the police while changing their mind-set about police.
In the light of the recent incidents of crime against young girls and women, said Lieutenant Colonel Modisane, they felt compelled to empower girls with knowledge.
She urged the community to take a stand against abuse and challenged men to step up and protect their integrity and dignity.
Lieutenant Colonel Modisane said within the police service they had social workers who help young people to deal with different challenges in the community.
“We need you girls to break the silence about abuse.
“We need you to know your rights and responsibilities. We also hope that the community will change their negative perceptions of the police and be their protectors.
“We need to reclaim our communities,” she said.
Grade 9 pupil Pumza Sopitsho said criminals who were feared in the community and got what they wanted, often lured young people into crime.
Pumza added that the police’s visit to the school had taught her a lot about the services they offer.
Lingelethu West police spokesperson Constable Xoliswa Nyalambisa said substance abuse was among the contributors of crime and called on the girls to work hard to overcome their challenges and reach for their dreams.
Constable Nyalambisa also pleaded with the girls to respect their bodies and to hold off on becoming sexually active.
“The responsibility of protecting girls and children is the duty of the whole society,” she said.