When the doctors told me that he did not rape her once, I blacked out, fainted. I was out of my mind for some time”.
These are the words of the mother of a 12-year-old rape survivor, who broke down as she recalled the day her daughter’s life changed forever – at the hands of a known neighbour.
Speaking to Vukani in a tiny, wet shack in Samora Machel on Sunday June 28, the woman recounted the assault her last born encountered at the hands of a perpetrator known to them and the insults and abuse they have to endure at the hands of the man’s family.
It was on the evening of Saturday June 20 when the sister of the perpetrator came to ask the parents to allow their daughter to come sleep at her house, apparently as she was alone and wanted to have the girl as company.
Her mother said her daughter was allegedly asked by the perpetrator to get something in his room. He then grabbed he and put a piece of cloth in her mouth before raping her. After the ordeal, the alleged rapist said she must wash and never say a word or she would be killed.
“I suspected something when she constantly went to the toilet. I laid her on the bed. I told her to take off her panties. I was shocked to see the damages on her. I forced her to speak but she would not. I had to rush her to hospital the following morning. It was where everything was revealed.”
She said when the doctors asked her if she knew who the perpetrator was, her mind went blank. “I did not know at first because my mind was not working. It was unbelievable news to hear. Because we treated the perpetrator as our son and one of us. We are separated by one house. He and his family were like a family to us,” she said.
She said when she asked her daughter why she was quiet about the rape, she told her mother she was threatened that if she told anyone, he would kill her. “The rape continued on the Sunday. She told me she cried through the whole ordeal but she was too scared to tell us,” the mother said.
She said the alleged rapist was finally arrested. But what angers the family is that the perpetrator has been released and they see him on the streets, making innuendos and gestures to them. According to the family, he has also threatened them.
They feel the law has failed them and said they should have been alerted about him coming out. “He is now a free man and is making all these threats and unwanted statements. We have gone to the police and we have opened another three cases against him,” said the mother.
She said the alleged perpetrator sends messages to their daughter and his family have been bothering them, asking them to drop the case. “We are now living in hell here. When his family members see anyone coming here, they start shouting and making silly statements. It is a pity that his family see no wrong in him and what has happened,” the mother said.
She said being in her home was “like being in hell” with her daughter. “I feel if only she can get to a safe place where she will not see these people. I am prepared to get her school work and take it to her every day. It is unfair to expose her to this kind of situation,” she said with tears flowing down her face..
She said what is even worse and mind-boggling is when women talk bad about rape survivors and ask them to drop charges against their perpetrators. “Women should know the pain. Girl children are being raped and killed but you get women supporting such vile acts. I am not saying this because it is my child but these things are happening day and night in front of our eyes,” she said.
Samora Machel police said they are investigating.
Lieutenant-Colonel Elliot Lingani confirmed to Vukani that a 27-year-old man was arrested for the rape of a 12-year-old girl.
He said the suspect appeared in court on Thursday June 25 and was released on bail. He said police were alerted of threats by the alleged rapist.
“Apparently he threatened the victim and the victim’s mother to withdraw the case. Both the mother and the victim opened intimidation cases. All these cases are with SAPS’ Family violence, Child protection and Sexual offences (FCS) investigations unit,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Lingani.