Support for Cape Town woman who accused her grandfather of abuse in viral video
Cape Town – There was an outpouring of support for a young woman who made a YouTube video claiming years of sexual abuse by her paternal grandfather, a well-known member of the Bo-Kaap community and former high school principal.
The woman, now in her 20s, claims the abuse started when she was 5.
She says her grandfather gripped her wrists above her head and pinned her down. She says he locked her in the garage, where she woke up without underwear.
She claims many other women were also victims of sexual assault by her grandfather and his brother over a period spanning more than 50 years.
The alleged perpetrators are both in their '80s and former teachers.
The video, uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday, was seen by thousands of people, many of whom who conveyed messages of support.
“The response has been overwhelming. I was never believed as a child, I didn’t have support. I cried when waking up to those messages. Allah knows what’s in my heart and people saw that, too. It’s about protecting those most vulnerable,” she told the Cape Argus.
The woman, who did not want her name published, said she was in Grade 4 when she first accused her grandfather. “No one believed me and so the abuse continued. I was told they’re old, so they’ll die soon and it’ll be fine then.”
Now living in a Middle East country, she said there was never an opportunity to open a criminal case against him. As a child, she lived on the same property as her grandfather. The abuse allegedly ended when she was 11 and moved with her family abroad.
Her parents were divorced.
“I’m overwhelmed by support received from strangers. I didn’t expect it because these men are so respected.”
The young woman said this was the first time she had named her alleged abuser.
In the video, she alleges the two men abused girls for decades.
“The abuse didn’t stop and these men have never been held accountable. They’re abused girls in the family, in their wives’ families, and I know that it’s very easy for people not to believe it because of who they are and how well they’re respected and things that they have done for the community,” she said in the video.
Speaking out about the alleged abuse last year, she was told her grandfather would be placed under house arrest, which she later said was a lie as he was seen in pictures at public events.
“It doesn’t matter what they’ve done for the community, it doesn’t negate the abuse.
“He would say things like, ’Let’s kiss like they do in the movies.’ He would lock me in the garage. I’ve woken up without underwear. It was incredibly difficult speaking about it and I hope it serves as a catalyst to healing for those who are still struggling with this. Many of us wouldn’t have been abused if something had been done,” she said.
Several attempts to reach the brothers were unsuccessful as they did not return calls. Upon visiting the grandfather’s residence, the woman’s father, who came to the door, said he was aware of the video and the claims made by his daughter. He said his father was unable to speak at the time as he was sick in bed with cancer. “This is not an issue to be discussed with the world… not now.”
He said he had been trying for several years to get in touch with his daughter.
Speaking on the phone, she said this was not true and they had been speaking last year, but he stopped messaging when she said she could not live with herself if she did nothing.
When reaching out to her father’s uncle, he said via text message he was told not to communicate or speak to anyone on the matter.