Jus­tice fails woman af­ter two rape or­deals

Now HIV-pos­i­tive, she says cops are still dither­ing years later

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - NOKUTHULA ZWANE nokuthula.zwane@inl.co.za @Zwane_2li2ls

THE JUS­TICE sys­tem has failed women who are vic­tims of sex­ual abuse, ac­cord­ing to a 32-yearold HIV-pos­i­tive woman, who has been a re­peat vic­tim of gang rape.

The woman, Martha*, told The Star that since 2015 she has been gang-raped twice in the greater Joburg area by a to­tal of five men be­tween the two in­ci­dents.

“I am stressed, I am try­ing to move on, but I can’t. I am liv­ing a hard life where I am con­stantly fear­ing for my life,” she said.

Martha opened her first re­ported case of rape on Septem­ber 28, 2015, ac­cord­ing to Jeppe po­lice sta­tion spokesper­son Cap­tain Richard Mun­yai. He said the case was closed last Au­gust af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of two sus­pects.

“A case of kid­nap­ping and rape has been closed by the court,” Mun­yai said. One sus­pect was found not guilty, and there was in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to charge the other, he added.

Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Author­ity spokesper­son Phindi Louw Mjonond­wane con­firmed that the case was placed on the roll in the Jo­han­nes­burg Mag­is­trate’s Court on Septem­ber 28.

The for­mer elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent told The Star that in 2016 in Natal­spruit, Ekurhu­leni, for the sec­ond time af­ter mov­ing away from her Doorn­fontein home.

She had moved to start her life afresh un­til she was met with her sec­ond in­ci­dent of gang rape.

“There were three guys. The first sus­pect was found by the po­lice, but the sec­ond sus­pect was iden­ti­fied by my­self dur­ing the court pro­ceed­ings.” “I think he went to court be­cause he thought that I wasn’t go­ing to be able to iden­tify him. Luck­ily, there was some­thing that told me to look be­hind me in the court gallery. I told the court that that was the sec­ond sus­pect.

“The third sus­pect I was un­able to iden­tify, but all I know is that there were three of them,” she said.

Katle­hong South po­lice sta­tion spokesper­son Cap­tain Mega Ndobe con­firmed that three sus­pects be­tween the ages of 20 and 30 were ar­rested in con­nec­tion with a rape charge.

Ac­cord­ing to Ndobe, the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers sus­pected that the woman had a men­tal con­di­tion. “Through the state­ment given by the woman, they were un­der the im­pres­sion that she might have to go for a men­tal check-up,” he said. Ndobe said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was con­tin­u­ing. The sus­pects had been re­leased, but they could be re­ar­rested af­ter Martha’s eval­u­a­tion, he added. He ac­knowl­edged that Martha was un­happy when she found out about the court’s de­ci­sion.

Martha main­tains that she does not have a men­tal con­di­tion. How­ever, she said she had been see­ing a psy­chol­o­gist to process the gang-rape or­deals she has ex­pe­ri­enced.

“I com­pletely dis­agree with the po­lice say­ing I am men­tally chal­lenged. That is not right. Who are they to say that?

“I feel like the Depart­ment of Jus­tice is not play­ing a role in solv­ing my cases. It’s not fair. In­stead of pro­tect­ing the vic­tims of rape, the depart­ment is giv­ing rights to the per­pe­tra­tors. They are si­lenc­ing the rights of women and the vul­ner­a­ble,” she said. *Not her real name

The law is giv­ing rights to the per­pe­tra­tors

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