No end to 12-year-old’s rape ordeal


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THE STAR

A traumatised 12-year-old girl holds her fathers hand at their home. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - Her 12-year-old eyes are wide open but despondent. She lies there, barely moving, barely making a noise, as an adult man repeatedly thrusts inside her.

The cellphone footage cuts off as the man decides to “take a break”. Blackness. Then three more edits of the 20-year-old forcing himself on the teenager, and it’s mercifully over.

This horrific two minutes of footage is circulating around Rabie Ridge, Midrand, as the young girl’s family try to deal with the trauma of their youngest being raped, and the video reaching friends and relatives.

Meanwhile, women and children’s rights group are up in arms about the rise in cases of sexual assaults being filmed and spread through communities.

On May 13, Kelsey* had met up with her 14-year-old friend Boity* and a fellow 16-year-old male pupil at the local high school.

The trio had decided to skip school, with the boy taking the girls to an adult friend’s home, a few streets away from Kelsey’s home.

Kelsey admitted to her father Paul* that she had smoked dagga with the group, but said it was Boity and the 16-year-old who insisted she have sex with the home’s owner.

“If you don’t do it, I’ll tell your mother you do drugs,” said Boity, echoed by the boy.

She was unable to say no and terrified of what would happen if her family found out.

Kelsey climbed onto the adult’s bed as he removed his clothes. He asked her to remove her own. Kelsey said she didn’t want to, but the man repeated the earlier threat: “I’ll tell your parents.”

She lay back, and just outside the room Boity sat and watched as her male friend filmed snippets of Kelsey’s nightmarish experience with his cellphone.

In a state of confusion, she left the house, venturing back to school with her two older friends as they left the man’s house hours later.

For six days, she kept silent, until her great-aunt received a disturbing text. A friend of the family had been sent the video footage of what had happened.

“When you hear about this, you’re broken,” Paul told The Star.

He had managed to identify the man in the video, and handed it over to the police. But Paul said he never received word that the alleged rapist and the 16-year-old had been apprehended.

Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed the arrests and that the suspected rapist was released on bail at the Tembisa Magistrate’s Court on Friday. He said the 16-year-old had been released into his parents’ custody.

But despite the arrests, Kelsey’s family are tormented by the fact that a large section of the community has seen what happened.

“We’ve been victimised (by the crime) as well. We walk around and people give us these looks. They know what happened,” Kelsey’s great-aunt said.

Childline’s Gauteng director, Lynne Cawood, said the incident being filmed would make the ordeal even more difficult for Kelsey and her family. “If you’re raped in private, you can deal with it in private,” said Cawood.

She said that because of misconceptions around rape and sexual violence, some people would still blame the victim, especially if what happened to her became widely known in her community.

“It makes the child extremely vulnerable… and the issue of child pornography becomes a major problem if the video is distributed.”

Cawood and People Opposing Women Abuse’s Jeanette Sera agree that incidents such as this are on the rise. “The scariest thing is these kind of cases are happening regularly,” said Sera.

She said rapists would often be willing to take the risk of having their acts filmed because they assumed they would not get caught.

“The people filming are just as guilty for not putting a stop to (the rape),” said Sera.

*Not their real names

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