THE age-old warning of ‘don’t talk to strangers’ has never been more relevant after four hitch-hiking women were raped within a week in Empangeni.
This after Police Minister Bheki Cele last month pin-pointed Empangeni among the top 10 KZN hot spots for gender-based violence.
Last Monday, a 20-year-old Ngwelezana woman reported that while waiting for a taxi, the driver of a VW Polo stopped and offered her a lift home.
She began to panic when the driver, who was unknown to her, passed her house and said he was going to his flat.
According to the victim, she was forced into the man’s flat in Empangeni where she was raped.
Just a few hours later, a 31-year-old woman laid rape charges against a former schoolmate.
The woman told the police she was in Empangeni CBD, seeking a lift as she did not have money to get back home.
She was then approached by her former schoolmate who offered her a lift. Shortly after getting into the car, the man proceeded to force himself onto her.
She said that when she fought back, the man assaulted her until she agreed to have intercourse with him. He then dropped her off at the taxi rank.
On Saturday, a young woman said she was forced into a bush area outside Felixton by five men.
Four young women raped after accepting lifts from strangers
The woman told police she was walking home when the men accosted her and threatened her with a knife.
They forced her to go into the bush and demanded that she remove her clothes. She was then raped by one of the men.
Also on Saturday, another unsuspecting 25-year-old woman was raped in Ngwelezana.
According to her, she was waiting for a taxi when it began to rain heavily.
A man, who was unknown to her, invited her to wait inside his house until the weather cleared. Shortly after entering the house, the woman was raped.
King Cetshwayo SAPS spokesperson Captain Mbongeni Mdlalose said people needed to exercise more caution.
‘We are urging people not to accept lifts from strangers and not to trust people blindly.
‘We are living in a dangerous society and although the police are doing their best to ensure peace and safety, we are still seeing a spike in violent crimes.’