The North Gauteng High Court rejected the version of a man who raped a mentally disabled teenager andmade her pregnant: that she was the one who made constant advances towards him and that he eventually gave in.
The man, who cannot be named so as not to identify his victim, knew the 15-year-old girl since she was a baby and he lived next door to her family. He was unhappy about his rape conviction and subsequent 15-year jail sentence and turned to the high court to appeal it.
The girl, said to have the mental capacity of a 7-year-old child, testified that she never had a relationship with the man. According to her, he raped her more than once. On the first occasion he took her to his home, undressed her and she explained how he then had sex with her, while holding her mouth closed with his hand.
Her brother walked in on them, but he was too afraid to say anything to anyone.
The second occasion was when he instructed her to cook for him and the third occasion was while they were watching television at his house. He threatened to beat her if she told anyone. She eventually told her mother, after she discovered she was pregnant and threatened to beat her if she did not tell the truth.
The mother testified she noticed her daughter's stomach getting bigger and she asked her whether she was sexually active. The teenager denied this and her mother took her to a clinic, where it was established that she was three months’ pregnant. Her mother asked her daughter whether she knew what it meant to be pregnant, but she could not understand what it meant.
Her mother then threatened to beat her with the pipe of a washing machine and the teenager told her the accused had raped her.
The accused testified that the teenager continuously asked him to have sex with her. He said on the first occasion she “crept under the blankets” with him, but nothing happened. According to him he gave in to her advances on the second occasion.
He told the court that although he had a wife in Mozambique, he was willing to also marry the teenager. He claimed her never knew that she was 15 or that she was retarded. He said according to him she was “fine”.
A psychologist testified that she had an IQ of below 60 and had the mental ability of a seven-year-old. She could not tell the time, did not understand the concept of money and could easily be manipulated.
Acting Judge D Dosio found the teenager to be honest and said she was clearly not the one who propositioned the accused. When asked by the defence why she continuously went back to the home of the accused as she knew what was waiting for her, the girl said he threatened to beat and kill both her and her brother if she did not visit him.
The judge said the teenager could not explain in court what the difference between sex and rape was.
He turned down the appeal on both conviction and sentence. He found that a 15-year jail sentence under the circumstances was not too harsh.