This study seeks to understand the reasons that allow a parent, a principal and a
teacher to maintain silence when young girls under their care are sexually abused.
Put another way, it attempts to explain what it is about sexual abuse that makes
these parties relinquish their role as protectors of innocent children. This paper, based
on a larger study of sexual abuse in schools in the Limpopo Province, investigates the
possibility that teacher/learner sexual abuse has, over the years, become imbued in
a cultural silence linked to African cultural practices. It is argued here that the silence
on sexual abuse might be rooted in traditional, patriarchal views on gender and social
justice. The research findings indicate that there might well be a growing resistance
to what is regarded by some communities as the imposition of liberal, urban, value
systems on traditional, rural African people.