Fear later was worse than rape, says victim

2011-04-15 00:00

FOR the “perverse and depraved rape and aggravated robbery” of a midlands woman “old enough to be his grandmother”, Judge Trevor Gorven yesterday jailed Sabelo Zuma for an effective 15 years in the high court in Pietermaritzburg.

Judge Gorven found no substantial and compelling circumstances justifying a lesser sentence than the prescribed 15 years for the aggravated robbery, but found such circumstances present for the rape, and he imposed six years instead of the prescribed 10 years’ jail. The two sentences are to run concurrently.

Zuma was 18 years and five months old when he committed the crimes in December.

In an affidavit before the court the victim said the bruises and physical trauma she suffered were not the worst.

“It was fear. I would hear a noise in the house, day or night, and my heart would pound. I carry my panic button from room to room.

“To this day I do not go out of the house unless there is someone within sight or shouting distance. Going to the animals is impossible for me unless I am with someone else … I don’t have the confidence to live my life the way I did before.

“I did not go for counselling as I felt unable to describe what happened to a stranger — I realise now that I should have — it would have helped to talk about it.”

A doctor treated her for many injuries. She said she was unable to speak normally for three to four weeks, could not eat and lost six to seven kilograms.

She has incurred considerable expense in making the house safer.

In his guilty plea the youth said he went to his victim’s home to look for a job. He saw her hanging clothes and sneaked into the house unseen. “As she came in I confronted her and demanded money.”

He bound her hands, slapped her several times and throttled while demanding money. In her bedroom she gave him R580 and he took jewellery.

He said he and the woman grappled and he subdued her by pinning her down. During the struggle he “became aroused” and inserted a finger into her vagina. (The law now defines any penetration as rape whereas previously it was indecent assault.) Zuma heard a noise outside the house and fled.

He pleaded guilty to the rape and aggravated robbery and admitted previous convictions.

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