A YOUNG girl has relived a traumatic experience she suffered at the hands of her family members. She was allegedly repeatedly raped by two male relatives, one of them her father’s younger brother. “Gogo said I must not tell my father what had happened because he will kill my uncle,” says the 12-year-old girl.
The girl, who cannot be named because she is a minor and a victim of sexual assault, fell pregnant and alleges that her grandmother took her to a clinic where she was given abortion pills. “They told me I should place them under my tongue and that I would have stomach cramps but they won’t be too severe. While at home, I went to the toilet and the thing (fetus) came out and fell into the toilet. Gogo told me to take it and throw it away,” she says.
The girl has been living with her paternal grandmother and her uncle since she was 10 years old. The girl’s mother and her father separated and the father demanded that the child go and live with his mother and family. Both the little girl’s parents are married to other people.
GIVEN THE RUNAROUND
At the grandmother’s house, it’s the grandparents, their two sons, two daughters, one of whom is married and staying with her husband at the same house and the victim of the abuse. In October, the girl’s mother says she got a call from the girl’s father and his wife asking her to come to their house.
“I immediately thought something bad had happened to my child and that’s when I found out about this terrible thing,” she says.
GOGO SAID I MUST NOT TELL MY FATHER
“They told me that my child had told them that her aunt’s husband and her uncle were raping her and that the aunt’s husband had been doing this to her for a very long time and that the uncle started some time last year.”
The victim’s mom says she has been calling and fighting with the grandmother and the father because the granny was refusing her access to her child. She says each time she called she would be given the runaround. Her father would tell her to ask the grandmother as she was the one staying with the child. When she called the grandmother, she would tell her to ask the child’s father for permission and would end up not seeing her child.
“I was advised to go to a family advocate to force them to give me my child or at least to give me access to her and visiting rights. That’s what I did in September,” the mother says.
The 38-year-old woman says her child’s stepmother is the one who became suspicious and lured the child to their house as she was also not allowed to frequently visit her father’s house.
The stepmother is then said to have asked the child if she was pregnant and the child initially hesitated to say anything. She then called her father and they both asked the child and told her if she didn’t tell them the truth, they would call the police. She told them everything and where she threw the fetus.
“That’s when they called me and then we called the police. My child even went to point out the fetus on a veld where she had thrown it away,” says the victim’s mom.
Although the police have arrested the uncle, she says she is not satisfied because she wants all the people involved to be arrested and answer for their role in the matter.
“I want her grandmother, her aunt and husband as well as the nurses who gave my child those abortion pills without my permission to be arrested. These people have ruined my child’s future,” she says.
DISTRAUGHT AND DISTURBED
The child is under-going counselling to help her deal with this trauma, but she is still very distraught and disturbed. “That picture of that fetus will forever be on her mind. At times, she just becomes absent-minded and looks blank and just stands there as if she doesn’t know what’s happening around her,” her mom explains.
She says she had to quit her job at a guest house after she discovered what had been happening to her child. “I wanted to be there for her and show her that I won’t let anyone hurt her again. Her father and his wife are also giving us support,” says the distraught mom.
Police have confirmed that they have arrested a 35-year-old man over the rape. He is in police custody and will appear at Kabokweni Magistrates Court later this month for a formal bail application.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, says they have taken a warning statement from one suspect while another suspect had refused to do so.
“The docket is with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). We await further instructions from the prosecutor on whether to institute more arrests,” explains Leonard. Mpumalanga’s NPA spokesperson, Monica Myuswa, says the docket is still being studied. “We cannot comment on the contents of the docket. What we can say at this stage is that we will be guided by the police investigation and that we cannot rule out a possibility of more suspects being arrested in connection with this case,” says Monica.