Mother of victim speaks

2018-02-06 06:00
The mother of a four-year-old rape victim has spoken out about the case in the hope of encouraging others to stand up against abuse.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

The mother of a four-year-old rape victim has spoken out about the case in the hope of encouraging others to stand up against abuse.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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The devastation is evident in her voice as she relays her story, in the hope that it will help other mothers speak out.

Her four-year-old daughter was one of six young children who were violated by their step-grandfather.

The case was brought to light in October last year when the five- and six-year-olds went to their mother to tell them what he had done to them.

She laughed because she thought it was a joke [before her daughter told her what had happened].

Her sister-in-law then contacted the parents of the other children and informed them about the incident.

She and her husband sat their daughter down and asked her to tell them what had happened to her.

“Fear was all over her face and she was really scared to tell me, but I told her to just tell the truth and that I would not be mad or hurt her. She then told me ‘Yes, pa kissed me on my lips and played with my private part and put his tongue in my mouth’. I was devastated. I never expected to hear anything like that. It was unbelievable. This was someone we trusted,” she says.

She immediately went to the police station to open a case of rape.

The 57-year-old man evaded police, but locals set a trap for him and made a citizens’ arrest.

He has appeared in court several times but has not yet pleaded, and his next bail hearing is set for Monday 26 February.

“We went to Heideveld and the doctor checked all the children privately.

“He told me that he could see this was not the first time and that my daughter had been partially penetrated in front and behind,” she says.

According to the woman, all the children had been partially penetrated, except for the 10-year-old who had been fully penetrated and still had evidence of bleeding.

The man has a case dating back to 2014, involving his 14-year-old granddaughter.

The case had not moved forward at that stage, but charges have been added to this case bringing the total to six children aged four, five, six, six, 10 and 14.

The suspect is the four-year-old’s paternal step-grandfather.

Her maternal grandmother says she was shocked to hear of the news.

“I always taught her to come tell me if anything happened to her and I did not know anything was wrong because I thought she would come tell me,” the grandmother says.

“If this had not come out, it could have been so much worse,” the mother says.

Her daughter now has nightmares and has become very aggressive.

The grandmother says the little girl sleeps with her and she can recall her fighting in her sleep.

“She would kick me and hit me in my sleep. One night she woke up screaming that it was sore and asked me to put some ointment on,” she says.

“I asked her why it was sore and if someone hurt her, but she said ‘no ma, no-one’. I did not look because I [was confident] that she would tell me if something happened and I put some Vaseline on without ­looking.”

The four-year-old never slept over at the step-grandfather’s house but went to visit with her cousins over weekends.

The children later claimed that the suspect would call them to his place in the back of the house and give them money.

They were called separately.

This was also where the incidents occurred, the women believe.

“She would come home with R2 and then R5 and then R10,” says the grandmother.

“He told the 10-year-old that if she told anyone, he would kill her or that he would ban her from his house,” the woman says.

The woman says she does not want him to get out and that he should spend the rest of his life behind bars.

“He destroyed my child’s future,” she says.

She has changed completely and is now quiet but very aggressive, the mother says.

He had already spent 20 years behind bars for other crimes.

After the man was arrested this time, other people in the family also spoke out about abuse, the women say.

“To move forward, we need forgiveness. That is the only way. I have forgiveness in my heart and I just want to do the best for my daughter,” she says.

She possesses a strength that has helped her family deal with the incident.

“I am being strong for my daughter,” she says.

The woman says that parents should not “sweep this under the carpet”.

“As a mother, I feel that parents [who keep it quiet] make it worse for their children because this is not something that must be swept under the mat. I don’t believe any person should keep it quiet; it should be put out in the open. There are so many cases like that going on now,” she says.

Due to the sensitive nature of the case, the identities of those involved have been ­withheld.

V A petition is being circulated for residents to sign to oppose bail. Visit the Mitchell’s Plain Impact Association Facebook page for more information.

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