Doctor tells of raped baby’s trauma
But infant is expected to recover physically after team performs two-hour operation
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.”
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.
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.
SUSPECT: The man accused of raping a six-week-old baby is put into the back of a police vehicle.