Rape survivor’s week of hell after speaking out against prominent politician

2017-12-17 06:00
Blessee-turned-entrepreneur Jackie Phamotse at the launch of her second novel, Bare, last weekend. PHOTO: Mpumelelo Buthelezi

Blessee-turned-entrepreneur Jackie Phamotse at the launch of her second novel, Bare, last weekend. PHOTO: Mpumelelo Buthelezi

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TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual abuse

Jackie Phamotse has lived through a week of hell after she spoke out about being gang-raped at the age of 17. She dropped the bombshell last Saturday at the launch of Bare, her novel about blessees and the sex lives of powerful South African politicians and businessmen.

She told City Press that the man leading the attack is today a deputy minister, but she has refused to reveal his name.

Read: My rapist is now a deputy minister

“On Tuesday morning at 01:00, I got a call from a private number. It was a warning: ‘The next call you’re gonna get is to come pick up a dead body,’ said a male voice. I kept asking: ‘Who’s this? Who’s this?’

“He said: ‘Jackie Phamotse, you know what you’re doing. You know exactly what this call is about.’ He hung up. I couldn’t sleep. I stared out the window the whole night.

“At 06:00 I got another call. It was my little sister, saying the family house was vandalised while they were sleeping. When they woke up the electricity cables had been cut and furniture had been pushed around. Nothing was stolen...”

Family members, she says, have also been harassed with phone calls. The break-in was reported to the police and an urgent family meeting was called.

“The family is really in shock and not in a good state,” she told City Press.

“My phone is tapped,” she said, describing the telltale beeps and delays when she makes calls.

Phamotse is concerned that an attempt will be made on her life, particularly one that looks like an accident. She checks her car before getting into it; she is careful about what food she eats.

This is what happens, she says, when a woman takes on a man with the kind of power her rapist has. Senior ANC leaders have been in touch, repeatedly trying to draw from her the name of the man, but she will still not reveal it. “I want to speak out, but I also don’t want to divert attention from what I am trying to say with this book and with my foundation, Save a Treasure.”

Treasure is the name of the main character in Bare, which is based on Phamotse’s life of being a model and blessee. Treasure endures sexual violence while being kept by a blesser.

Phamotse wrote the book to expose young women to the realities of the blessee life that is often glamorised.

“What happened to me, the rape, traumatised me for life,” she says. “I’m not in a relationship because my partners don’t understand ... I have nightmares. The doctors say my body was so damaged that I will struggle to have a baby ... But I want to be a vessel for women who do not have the power or the platform to speak out.”

Phamotse says she has received very little support after coming out. “People say: ‘Why now? You’re just trying to get attention, to sell your book.’

“Women like me are coming out also because the police have let us down,” she says. “I tried to report the rape four times and they chased me away; they told me I’m crazy, that ‘it’s not gonna go far’, and they said: ‘Do you know the man you’re dealing with?’”

Phamotse attempted suicide and showed City Press the scars of her self-harming. After being a high-class blessee where she endured further sexual violence, she left that world to study communications and become a novelist, entrepreneur and shareholder in DJ Sbu’s energy drink, MoFaya. She says she has enrolled to study law next year to offer female victims of violence legal support.

Phamotse has not yet decided if she will lay charges against the deputy minister and name him. But she insists she will not keep quiet about what she has seen.

“It’s unfortunate that my own painful experiences have led me to this, but I have become an activist. I can’t keep quiet when other girls are unable to speak out. The silence paralyses you.”

Sex clubs

While researching her novel, Bare, Jackie Phamotse went undercover to explore the sex clubs that some powerful South African blessers are using to act out their fantasies.

She wrote of the so-called Hockey Club, where wealthy men recruit young men to sleep with their wives – and also have sex with the same men.

She told City Press of an encounter at a high-profile group sex party.

“There is a group of political leaders and businessmen who have a fancy double-storey house in Bryanston, where they keep about 10 beautiful young girls in their early to mid twenties,” Phamotse says.

“I attended a party there while I was researching Bare. I secured an invite under a different name. The politicians are very senior and not just from the ANC, but also from the Economic Freedom Fighters. They take your phone and all your devices when you arrive so no one records anything.

“The girls are half-naked or in lingerie, paraded around like trophies by the men, who are normally dressed. Four or five of the men would share two girls, drinking, having sex with them, passing them around, outside at the pool, inside in lounges. I wrote about it in Bare.”

She says the women she spoke to were very happy with their lives of luxury. “They’re not allowed to go out on their own, but the bodyguards take them shopping as a group and they’re in contact with their families whenever they want to be.”

Phamotse’s research also led her to Durban, where young women told her wild stories about a “cult-like practice where powerful men sleep with virgins, men and women, to gain power”.

She also heard stories of kidnapping and muthi murders.

“Muthi has become a big thing with blessees as well. They take it to make the men want only them, so that they get a divorce and end up with the blessees...

“I interviewed two young women. They were trading in future forex currencies like bitcoin. They told me of businessmen in the field who sleep with virgins and then take a razor and cut them, and rub the blood on their own skins to get their purity and power,” she said.

Read more on:    rape  |  women abuse

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