A Brown’s Farm Reverend is in a battle to turn the tide against the scourge of domestic violence and gender-based violence (GBV).
Following her gruesome rape in 2007, as a 15-year-old, founder of Answered Prayer’s Foundation Rev Anita Pamla (28) is calling on victims of rape and GBV to speak out.
The former Intsebenziswano High School learner says she does not want the victims to suffer in silence.
Pamla said she was threatened and raped for about an hour when she was in Grade 8. She said the incident completely changed her life and is now on a mission to protect other women and children.
While the incident left her traumatised, Pamla said she forgave her attackers, although she does not know them and never received justice for the incident.
In an interview with City Vision, the Woodby resident, in Brown’s Farm, said the incident left scars in her heart. “It was on Friday evening (can’t remember the exact date) I was going with my cousin, accompanying another cousin who had visited us. On our way back, as we were going between the shacks, we saw a guy approaching. As he came closer he took out a knife and ordered us to give him our cellphones. I told him I don’t have a phone. He grabbed my necklace and wristwatch. My cousin (who was 21-years-old then) was standing behind me and she took out her phone and threw it into the sand and covered it,” said Pamla, adding that all the time the culprit was pushing them.
She said while they tried to fight the culprit a second man, armed with a firearm, appeared. “He pointed us with a gun and instructed us to go into a dark passage, he was threatening to shoot us. We tried to scream but no one came to our rescue,” said Pamla. She added that once they were out of sight, the men instructed them to undress and began raping them.
She described the incident as her first sexual encounter. She said the ordeal lasted for about an hour.
“All along I was crying and praying,” she said, adding that the man threatened to kill her. “I begged him not to kill me and promised him that I’m not going to tell anyone,” she said weeping.
Following the incident the culprits ordered them to run home. On her arrival at home she informed the family, but attempts to trace the culprits drew blank.
Pamla said they opened a case at Nyanga police station but no arrests were ever made. She said the incident haunted her for several years. She even dropped out of school while doing Grade 11 in 2009 and returned in 2011.
Pamla said after she passed her matric in 2012, she enrolled for a short course on water and sanitation treatment at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) at Bellville campus. “While I was busy with my studies I was also involved at church. I was also doing theological studies at United Methodist Academy of Religion and Training (UMART).
In October 2015 she was ordained as priest at Mount Ayliff, Eastern Cape. It was before she was ordained that she spoke openly about her ordeal.
“I was ordained at the age of 23, in 2015. Before you are ordained as Reverend you are required to tell people about your past. I felt brave enough to tell people what happened to me,” she stated. Since then she has been able to share her story many times. She said people often come to her after telling them about her ordeal.
“Then in 2018, I decided to establish a foundation to assist vulnerable people. I felt the need to open a foundation to help people affected by GBV,” said Pamla. She works with the Nyanga police station and the National Shelter Movement of South Africa (NSMSA) to assist the victims. “If there is a rape victim at Nyanga police station they bring the victims to me or I go and fetch them. Then I do counselling here or refer them to nearby clinics. And if someone needs a shelter I contact NSMSA,” she said.
Pamla urged the community to speak out against GBV.
Nyanga police station Capt Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi confirmed the incident, but the case was withdrawn due to “insufficient evidence”.
The station would like to advise community members that after they have opened cases and informed of their investigating officers, they have a right to demand feedback from their investigating officers,” said Sitshitshi.