Barbie ‘was totally obedient’

2009-06-17 22:05

Pretoria - Former advocate Cezanne Visser was "uncompromisingly obedient" to her parents and later to her lover Dirk Prinsloo, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Wednesday.

This was the evidence of social worker Hendrien Nortje, one of the experts who observed Visser for a month in 2006 at Weskoppies psychiatric hospital in Pretoria.

She said Prinsloo had systematically isolated Visser, destroyed her self-worth and changed her into a woman who had to address him as her "god".

Visser, also known as Advocate Barbie, carried out his orders without a will of her own, Nortje said.

The late Judge Essop Patel referred her for mental observation in 2006.
Visser and Prinsloo pleaded not guilty to 14 charges ranging from rape and soliciting minors to commit indecent acts to manufacturing child pornography.

Prinsloo held for trying to rob bank

Their trials were separated when Prinsloo absconded while on a business trip to Russia in 2006.

He was arrested in the Republic of Belarus last week after allegedly trying to rob a bank, brandishing a toy pistol and a knife.

He is awaiting trial in that country before extradition proceedings can begin.

Visser has since revealed details of her and Prinsloo's sexual escapades, contending that he had a hold over her until she finally managed to break free.

Head of clinical psychology at the Weskoppies Hospital, Jonathan Scholtz, testified that Visser had been subjected to severe sexual abuse and coercive control by Prinsloo.

He achieved total control over her life through fear.

Needs corrective therapy

Scholtz diagnosed Visser as suffering from battered woman syndrome and depression and said she needed corrective psychotherapy.

Nortje said Visser's childhood had been marked by chaotic, unstable and complex relationships. Her father had abused her mother and even threatened to commit family murder.

Visser's mother had repeated the patterns of her own unhappy childhood, Nortje said.

Visser later did the same in her own relationship with Prinsloo.

Barbie result of unplanned pregnancy

Nortje said Visser was the result of an unplanned pregnancy, which had destroyed her mother's dreams of becoming a teacher.

She had learnt to keep her parents happy, obey orders, not to challenge authority and to keep quiet about what happened in the family, even at the cost of her own life.

Later on, Visser repeated the same patterns of fear in her relationship with Prinsloo.

"She felt she had to protect Prinsloo, because if she betrayed him she no longer had the right to live," Nortje said.

She said one of the first things that had struck her when she looked at an album containing pornographic photos Prinsloo had taken of Visser, was that Visser's eyes had no life and appeared dead.

Visser's mother, Susan, burst into tears when the social worker gave details of her own traumatic childhood and troubled marriage, which ended in divorce.

The trial continues.