On 27 August 1994, Thea Pumbroek died in a room of a Holiday Inn in Amsterdam. She had appeared in a number of pornographic films and died from an overdose of drugs whilst being filmed in yet another pornographic movie. Thea was 6 years old. In October 2005, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Michaela Ganchi was abducted, raped, sodomised and brutally murdered. After trying unsuccessfully to kill Michaela by pounding her head with rocks, 27-year-old Ronald Jones cut her throat with a broken bottle. The pathologist at the trial described the physical trauma to the childs vagina and anus as so severe that there would have been lifelong consequences had Michaela survived. Michaela was 6 years old. And the list of innocent children who have been sexually brutalised goes on and on Thankfully, not all children who are sexually abused are murdered, but all sexual crimes against children represent horrific abuses of power and expressions of brutality. The scars from sexual abuse are felt for the rest of a victims life and affect an individuals ability to grow to his or her potential. A part of me died many years ago.
I have been mourning it my whole life Garth, a 39-year-old man, was sexually abused by several people from a very young age. By the time he was 13 he was doing drugs and taking money for sex. On April 23, 2008 he committed suicide in a police cell. Garths life story is a testimony to the damage that paedophiles inflict on children, for the rest of their lives. This project is a personal journey that began for Mariella Furrer over 30 years ago when she was molested by a stranger. Since then she has explored the world of child sexual abuse with her camera and a sound recorder, documenting both the brutality of child rape, the resilience of its young survivors, and the dedication of all the people working to protect them. Furrer chose to focus her attention on South Africa,as a metaphoric example for child abuse world wide. Dealing with an epidemic of child sexual abuse. South Africa has one of the highest incidents of child rape and child sexual abuse in the world.
An estimated fifty child rapes are reported every day in the country, but child rights activists say that thousands more crimes go unreported and that because children are even less likely to report their abuse, they estimate that the real rate of child rape could be 20 times higher than the reported rate. In other western countries the figures are also staggering. In the U.S. approximately 150.00 to 200.000 children are being sexually abused every year, and one out of 7 men will be sexually molested before the age of 18. In the U.K. 21 per cent of girls and 11 per cent of boys are victims of child sexual abuse. In Spain 25 per cent of women have been sexually abused in their childhood. Mariella Furrer has worked on this project, on and off, for almost seven years now, inspired by the strength of the young victims and their families, and the passion and perseverance of the policemen and childcare workers who toil around the clock to look after them. In this time, she has produced and gathered a large body of work consisting of photos, journals, in-depth recorded interviews, artwork and poetry.
This book will give a voice to the countless children who have endured this ordeal, and give people a better understanding of what exactly it means to be sexually abused as a child.