On an April afternoon four years ago, * Kathy’s daughter uttered three words that shattered the mother-of-two’s world. “He raped me,” said Lisa, then only 13 years old.
“What the hell are you saying?” a shocked Kathy asked.
In that moment, Kathy’s world fell apart. He was her partner, * Tristan, the father of her son *Ben. The man who had come into Lisa’s life when she was only six months old and raised her as his own. The man Lisa called daddy.
As Lisa, in tears, screamed, “yes, yes, Tristan raped me”, describing some of the things he had done to her, Kathy was overcome by shock.
Lisa was then seen by doctors and social workers before they reported the matter to the police. It took four years of legal hell before Tristan was found guilty at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court two months ago. He’ll be sentenced in July.
Kathy never wants him to get out. “I am scared that Ben will turn out like him.”
While the family are relieved that the trial is over, the abuse has had a long-lasting effect and torn the family apart. They had to uproot themselves and move to Modimolle, Limpopo. Lisa hates her younger brother, Ben, because when she sees him, she thinks of Tristan.
Tristan started touching Lisa when she was two years old. When Lisa was in Grade 5, Tristan started penetrating her.
In an affidavit she made to the police, Lisa said Tristan used to make her watch porn and order her to sleep with him in the positions that they were watching.
Lisa also said Tristan used to give her alcohol.
Kathy said she was not aware of what was happening because Tristan covered his trail well. He would insist on doing the laundry so there was no proof of what he had done on the girl’s underwear and sheets. At times Tristan would drug her, and while she lay in a drug-induced sleep, Tristan would have his way with Lisa.
What also hurts, said Kathy, was that Lisa’s biological father, a police officer, did not care what happened to his daughter.
Kathy said she had learnt her lesson, had gone off men and had trust issues. “I advise mothers to open your eyes and make time for your children. When you’re busy you don’t listen properly.”
* Not their real names.