Cheryl Zondi: 'Whatever battle I am fighting is the same battle every other woman out there is fighting'

2018-10-19 19:19
Cheryl Zondi weeps as she testifies during the trial against controversial Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso and his co-accused Zukiswa Sitho and Lusanda Sulani in the Port Elizabeth High Court. (Lulama Zenzile, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

Cheryl Zondi weeps as she testifies during the trial against controversial Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso and his co-accused Zukiswa Sitho and Lusanda Sulani in the Port Elizabeth High Court. (Lulama Zenzile, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

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Cheryl Zondi, a complainant in the rape trial of Timothy Omotoso, thanked the people who came out in droves to support her during her testimony in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth.

"I am so overwhelmed. I don't not know where to begin. I cannot believe the amount of support I am receiving, let alone the fierce, passionate level of support that is being shown by multitudes of women and men alike, both young and old," she said in a statement.

"How do I thank you? How do I even begin to express my profuse gratitude to you?"

READ Omotoso lawyer Daubermann: 'I won't allow myself to be intimidated by ignorant people'

The 22-year-old has been hailed for her bravery and holding her own against what many supporters found to be an "inhumane and unnecessary style of cross-examination" by Omotoso's lawyer, advocate Peter Daubermann.

Zondi emphasised that she shared the same struggles as every other woman in society.

"Being a woman in this world is a challenging task on its own and we constantly find ourselves having to defend our dignity on a daily basis," she said.

"So, whatever battle I am fighting is the same battle every other woman out there is fighting."

This week, Zondi testified that Omotoso, a Nigerian pastor, raped and sexually assaulted her from the age of 14.

Secondary victimisation

Omotoso and his two co-accused are accused of 63 charges and 24 alternative charges, which include rape, sexual assault and racketeering.

During cross-examination Daubermann at some point asked her just how deep she believed Omotoso had penetrated her and why she didn't scream.

READ Omotoso trial: Chaos erupts as crowd chases defence lawyer outside High Court

Minister of Women in the Presidency Bathabile Dlamini and chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Women in the Presidency Thandi Memela took exception to this line of questioning.

"It is unfortunate that you have had to endure secondary victimisation and trauma during this experience," they said in a joint statement.

"We encourage you to nonetheless take strength in the opportunity that this experience presents you and the multitudes of women whose experiences are similar to yours.

Daubermann remained unshaken, even after protesters threw water at him and chanted: "Stand in defence of Cheryl!"

"Most people don't know what the job of an attorney is," Daubermann said.

"I will never allow myself to be intimidated by ignorant people who do not know what's going on."

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Read more on:    cheryl zondi  |  peter daubermann  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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