‘Worst rape in 38 years’

2012-11-02 00:00

THE worst case of rape he’d seen in almost 40 years of practice as a district surgeon.

That was how Dr Nithiyanandan Naidoo described the injuries sustained by an 82-year-old rape survivor he examined at his New Hanover surgery in the early hours of the morning in July this year.

He testified that when she arrived the woman was screaming from pain. “She couldn’t walk and had been carried in,” Naidoo said.

The doctor was giving evidence for the state at the resumption of the trial of Avelo Tuswa (25), who has admitted raping the elderly victim.

Earlier Acting Judge Igna Stretch ruled that although Tuswa admitted to the rape, he had not admitted all the necessary elements of the charge that was put to him by the state because he denies that the rape involved the infliction of grievous bodily harm.

For that reason she entered a plea of not guilty, and said the state would have to prove its case in that regard.

Dr Naidoo told the court that the victim had been “emotional” when he examined her.

Her injuries bled profusely, blood dripped down her legs and her clothing was messed with blood, he said.

Naidoo said doctors generally use a scale of one to 10 to determine pain levels, ten being an almost “unbearable” pain level.

This is because it is difficult to objectively assess a person’s pain.

Although he did not ask the victim in the case to indicate what level of pain she was in, from what he’d observed, her pain was in the region of level eight.

Naidoo said after completing his examination he sent the victim to hospital for further management as extensive suturing of her injuries was required and he was concerned about the possibility of a deeper injury, which he could not deal with alone.

He had expected her to be admitted to hospital but when he telephoned the hospital later he was told she had been stitched and sent home. Naidoo said he has examined numerous rape survivors during the 38 years he has been district surgeon at New Hanover. These include children.

Though the number of victims differs monthly and annually, he sees an average of 120 rape victims per year, he said.

Dr Naidoo said in his opinion a great amount of force must have been used by the rapist to inflict the injuries he’d found on the elderly victim in this case.

He told the court the victim had also suffered tenderness of her neck, and told him that she’d been throttled.

Dr Naidoo said he had not seen marks on her neck but bruising would only become visible after 12 hours and his examination took place a few hours after the incident.

The victim weighs just 43 kilograms and her height is 1,4 metres, the court heard.

The woman received massive support from members of the KZN ANC Women’s League, her community, family and friends who filled the public gallery at the Pietermaritzburg high court yesterday.

Also in attendance was Princess Khumalo, a court preparation officer, who was present in her official capacity to offer the victim support.

The case has been postponed to November 12.

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