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Mentally Ill Girls at Risk of Rape in South Africa

  • Darren Taylor
In a district in South Africa's impoverished Eastern Cape province, health care workers report that hardly anyone is ever arrested for raping the mentally disabled. But now a home in the region is sheltering some of these women and girls. The compound of mud huts is known as “Home of Peace.” It’s the only facility for hundreds of miles in this mountainous part of South Africa that rehabilitates people with mental disabilities.
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A female resident of Ikhaya Loxolo begins a morning school lesson … Most of the mentally disabled and mentally ill women here have been raped (VOA/ D. Taylor)
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A female resident of Ikhaya Loxolo begins a morning school lesson … Most of the mentally disabled and mentally ill women here have been raped (VOA/ D. Taylor)

One of the home’s caregivers helps patients to harvest vegetables for the day’s meals (VOA/Taylor)
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One of the home’s caregivers helps patients to harvest vegetables for the day’s meals (VOA/Taylor)

“They call this place ‘hell’s garden,’” says Zwelisithile Bendlela, a local traditional healer (VOA/Taylor)
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“They call this place ‘hell’s garden,’” says Zwelisithile Bendlela, a local traditional healer (VOA/Taylor)

The home’s director, Alex Gunther, gives instructions to caregivers and patients as the day’s harvest begins on Ikhaya Loxolo’s farm (VOA/Taylor)
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The home’s director, Alex Gunther, gives instructions to caregivers and patients as the day’s harvest begins on Ikhaya Loxolo’s farm (VOA/Taylor)

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