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Durban - A North Coast man who was allegedly gang-raped at gunpoint by three women says he was able to cope because of muti he had taken days earlier.
Mocked by some listeners when he was interviewed on radio this week, he has been praised by a gender activist for his bravery in discussing his ordeal.
The 25-year-old father of two on Friday night told The Independent on Saturday that taking a traditional remedy to treat his erectile dysfunction was how he was able to perform during the four-hour “torture session” when he was allegedly raped by each of the women, three times.
“I had had a bit of a problem with my manhood and had sought help from a Zulu traditionalist who mixed some herbs for me,” he said.
Although he was reluctant to report the alleged rape to the police, he said in retrospect he was pleased that he had. “Talking about it has helped with the healing process,” he said, adding that some men had mocked him, while others said he should be grateful that the women had freely offered themselves to him. He was interviewed by Gagasi FM, a Durban radio station.
The man, who does odd jobs, said he was still receiving counselling and has been on anti-retroviral treatment since being raped.
“My body has healed but I still think and have nightmares about what happened to me,” he said. “Sometimes I wake up at night sweating.”
He said his girlfriend was initially sceptical when he told her about the assault which occurred last Saturday. “But she supported me and we went to the clinic and she now knows and believes what happened,” he said.
Given the chance, the man said he would like to open a support centre for men who have experienced the same problem.
“Most people don’t understand how a man can be raped, but it does happen. It’s just that we are afraid to speak out about it.”
Mbuyiselo Botha, spokesman for the Sonke Gender Justice Network, commended the man for his bravery in reporting the incident and speaking about it openly.
“There would be a stigma around a man who reported such a rape and said he had not enjoyed it.”
Many such instances therefore probably went unreported, he said.
Botha added such inappropriate and absurd reactions were a reflection of South African society’s not sufficiently acknowledging the existence of rape of men.
After the alleged rape, the women had said that they would contact him when they need him. He said the women had not yet called. They remain at large.
“The case is still under investigation,” said police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane. “No arrests have been made.”
The man claimed that each of the women raped him three times on towels they had especially laid out beside their car on the side of a road. They appeared sober and did not smell of alcohol, he said.
He also said they spoke a language he could not understand. He suspected it could have either been Sesotho or Setswana.
In 2011 incidents of hitch-hikers being forced into sex by women made the news in Zimbabwe. The women appeared to have been after their victims’ semen, possibly for traditional medicinal purposes.
Reports at the time say that the men were forced into sex with the women, sometimes unprotected and at gunpoint, before the women collected their semen and dumped victims by the roadside.
Botha recalled a similar incident in Kagiso, near Krugersdorp, about three years ago when three women raped a man after a hijacking incident.
“I have no idea of their motive. I don’t recall them being arrested.”
He also stressed that male-on- male rape remained a serious problem, often with serious consequences. “Two years ago, a man came to our offices after having been released from prison where he was constantly raped.”
“Even the authorities ridiculed him and when he came out he wanted to reclaim his manhood, he wanted to test his virility and see if his attraction to women was still there.
“So, he started raping women.”
Catherin Venter, a clinical psychologist specialising in sexual issues who is based on the South Coast, said when a gun is at a man’s head and three women are demanding sex from him without his consent, it’s not impossible for him to perform.
There are times when “the body takes over” and stimulation can happen without consent.
“Sometimes, if someone is mentally offended an erection will fail. But it is possible with mental stimulation,” said Venter.
“Sometimes the body takes over and a man can have an erection.”
She said she had heard of such incidents but had not encountered it among her patients in Port Shepstone, nor in Durban North where she was previously based.
“I don’t think it is common, women in a group raping a man. ”
However, she said rape was always related to violence and control. “They certain tried to control and overpower him, especially with a gun.”
Durban urologist GM Hoosen said one would have to be excited to get an erection but that this would not be difficult for a 25 year old. - Independent on Saturday