Doc­tor tells of raped baby’s trauma

But in­fant is ex­pected to re­cover phys­i­cally af­ter team per­forms two-hour op­er­a­tion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - CHANTAL HALATA and PATSY BEANGSTROM

THE SIX-week-old baby kid­napped from her bed­room and raped in a nearby shanty in the poverty-stricken town­ship of Galeshewe, out­side Kim­ber­ley, was so trau­ma­tised doc­tors could not ex­am­ine her un­til she was put un­der anaes­thetic.

Gy­nae­col­o­gist Dr Jan van Soest, part of a seven-per­son team that op­er­ated for two hours to save the baby, said in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view yes­ter­day al­though it was very soon af­ter the surgery, they ex­pected the child would re­cover phys­i­cally and would one day be able to bear chil­dren.

The baby’s 24-year-old un­cle ap­peared in the Kim­ber­ley Mag­is­trate’s Court on Thurs­day on charges of rape and at­tempted mur­der.

Al­though he was warned that the charges against him were very se­ri­ous, the young man turned down the help of le­gal aid.

“I am sharp. I will de­fend my­self,” he said when mag­is­trate Kubash­nie Pa­day­achee warned him of the se­ri­ous­ness of the charges. He didn’t bother to re­ply to any of her fur­ther ques­tions.

State prose­cu­tor Anele Kohlani, op­pos­ing bail, pointed out the man was fac­ing charges for a Sched­ule 6 of­fence and was fac­ing charges of rap­ing a six-weekold baby and stab­bing a po­lice­man.

Pa­day­achee ruled that the man, who may not be named as he is re­lated to the vic­tim, will re­main be­hind bars un­til his next ap­pear­ance on De­cem­ber 12, when she will con­sider a for­mal ap­pli­ca­tion for bail.

Yes­ter­day, Van Soest said the baby was ex­tremely trau­ma­tised when she was brought to Kim­ber­ley Hos­pi­tal.

“The foren­sic ex­am­i­na­tion had to be per­formed un­der anaes­thetic be­fore we could start work­ing on re­pair­ing the dam­age.”

The baby had sus­tained ex­ten­sive trauma to the in­side and out­side of her gen­i­tals, as well as bruis­ing and se­vere tear­ing, but there was no in­ter­nal ab­dom­i­nal trauma.

Her per­ineum was torn and needed to be su­tured and built up.

“Al­though it is still very soon af­ter the surgery, it is ex­pected at this stage that she will be able to lead a nor­mal life and have chil­dren of her own one day,” he said.

A fter spend­ing a day and a half on a ven­ti­la­tor in the in­ten­sive care unit, where her vi­tals were mon­i­tored and she was checked for bleed­ing, the baby was moved to a pri­vate ward on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

She would re­turn to the­atre

‘The ex­am­i­na­tion had to be done un­der anaes­thetic be­fore we could start work­ing on re­pair­ing the dam­age’

next week, for fur­ther ex­am­i­na­tion un­der anaes­thetic.

If there were no com­pli­ca­tions, she would prob­a­bly be dis­charged shortly af­ter­wards, Van Soest said.

“Al­though she was on heavy pain med­i­ca­tion af­ter the surgery, she is only re­ceiv­ing oral med­i­ca­tion now and is happy and sta­ble.

“She is drink­ing from her mother and uri­nat­ing nor­mally. We are happy with her progress so far,” Van Soest said.

He said the at­tack was the worst he had ever seen in­volv­ing such a young child.

“It is al­ways dif­fi­cult to work on a baby so young. Be­cause she is so small there is lim­ited space, (so) we had to use spe­cial in­stru­ments.

“We tried to re­pair the dam­age so that her anatomy is back to nor­mal but we will only know in six months’ time how suc­cess­ful the op­er­a­tion was.

“She will be con­stantly mon- itored ev­ery month to check for scar­ring or in­fec­tion,” he added.

It was ex­pected that she would have to un­dergo fur­ther surgery when she was older.

The baby was taken to the hos­pi­tal at 2am on Tues­day by her young mother and grand­mother.

Ac­cord­ing to a fam­ily mem­ber, the mother had put the baby down to sleep in the bed­room and was watch­ing tele­vi­sion with the grand­mother in another room, when they heard the child cry­ing.

When the mother, who is study­ing to be a so­cial worker, got up to check on her daugh­ter she dis­cov­ered the child was miss­ing.

The win­dow of the small room was open.

Pick­ing up a teddy bear ly­ing on the couch, the fam­ily mem­ber said the mother had run out of the house, scream­ing that her child had been ab­ducted.

The grand­mother heard the faint cry­ing of the baby from the shanty in the fam­ily’s back­yard. The shanty is used by the fam­ily as a store­room but, in the cor­ner, half-cov­ered with crates, was a dou­ble bed mattress where the grand­mother’s son slept.

When the grand­mother tried to open the door, it was locked. She forced it open and was pushed aside by her son, who was re­port­edly still try­ing to pull his pants back on. He fled into the night.

The baby was ly­ing on the bed in a pool of blood.

The grand­mother’s screams alerted neigh­bours, who rushed to help. The sus­pect was tracked down a few blocks from the house.

The com­mu­nity mem­bers were an­gry with the man but, ac­cord­ing to the fam­ily mem­ber, his mother told them he was men­tally dis­turbed.

The sus­pect, it emerged, had been dis­charged from hos­pi­tal just hours be­fore the rape of the in­fant.

Ac­cord­ing to the fam­ily mem­ber, he had threat­ened pa­trons at a jazz club in the town­ship with a knife about two weeks prior to the rape. He had re­sisted ar­rest and al­legedly stabbed a po­lice of­fi­cer, be­fore be­ing shot twice.

At the house yes­ter­day, the grand­mother said she was tired of telling her story and that her life, along with the lives of her fam­ily, would never be the same again.

“I don’t want him out of jail,” she said of her son.

“I fear that he will kill me if he is re­leased. He must rather stay in jail. They must take him far away, to Pre­to­ria even, to ex­am­ine his mad­ness.”

She could not be­lieve that the two chil­dren she had given birth to were so dif­fer­ent.

“It is not easy as a mother – you can raise a child and think he will be fine and then this hap­pens. I put them through school with my pen­sion money.

“I thought that one day he would work and sup­port me in my old days and bury me when I die. I never thought he would do such a thing.”

PIC­TURE: DANIE VAN DER LITH

DIS­TRESSED: The grand­mother of the six-week-old baby who was raped, who said she had told po­lice not to let her son, ac­cused of rap­ing the lit­tle girl, out of jail as she feared for her life.

PIC­TURE: DANIE VAN DER LITH

SHOCK­ING SCENE: The bed where the baby was raped. Af­ter hear­ing cries com­ing from the shack out­side her house, the child’s grand­mother had to force open the door to get to her.

PIC­TURE: LIEUT SER­GIO KOCK

SUS­PECT: The man ac­cused of rap­ing a six-week-old baby is put into the back of a po­lice ve­hi­cle.

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