Rape victims were suicidal

2016-09-06 15:34
Traditional healer sentenced at the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Traditional healer sentenced at the Pietermaritzburg High Court. (File)

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2016-09-02 16:46

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At least two victims of a traditional healer found guilty of multiple rape charges say they have contemplated committing suicide.

This emerges from a series of victim impact statements handed to high court Judge Piet Bezuidenhout on  by state advocate Suhanna Singh, after the court found Sibusiso Siyabonga Ndawonde (29) guilty of six counts of rape.

Some of the four victims — young men and two boys under the age of 16 — were raped many times.

The victims who testified revealed that they had believed they would die if they did not go along with Ndawonde’s wish to have sexual intercourse with them.

The judge rejected Ndawonde’s denials that he raped the victims, saying it had been clearly established that sexual penetration had occurred without the victim’s consent on each occasion.

The offences were committed between July and August last year in the Msinga area.

During the trial a sangoma, Ntombemhlope Mchunu, testified that she was responsible for training people as traditional healers and sangomas.

She confirmed that Ndawonde had received training from her and qualified as a sangoma. However, she said the treatment given to patients by a sangoma never includes any form of sexual penetration.

Describing how the rape by Ndawonde made him feel, one victim said he “felt like committing suicide”.

“I felt like I had a burden on my shoulders that was too heavy to carry. I felt like I was nothing since Siyabonga abused me … I cannot face other people because what he did to us is known all over the community.”

Another said he wished he could commit suicide because he no longer sees a bright future.

“I was also afraid I might be infected with sexually transmitted diseases, because he never used a condom for protection.”

The victim said he had trusted Ndawonde because he was a traditional healer and most of them “do not do bad things”.

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