Life term for man who raped lesbian neighbour
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Cape Town - Albro McLean, the man who raped his lesbian neighbour in an attempt to “make her a women”, has received a life sentence in the Western Cape High Court.
He was convicted for “corrective rape”, despite pleading not guilty to charges of rape and assault with aggravating circumstances, in the Wynberg Regional Court.
McLean raped the victim on August 28, 2017.
During the trial, he said the victim was a tik addict who had had consensual sexual intercourse with him on previous occasions and falsely implicated him when she realised that he would not leave his girlfriend for her.
McLean changed his plea after the complainant's emotional testimony but during his testimony, he again changed his plea, denying all the charges against him.
National Prosecuting Authority Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said: “The court heard that McLean and the complainant were long-standing neighbours. It was known in the community and McLean knew that the complainant was a lesbian.
“On the day of the incident, the complainant received a call asking her whether she had seen Mclean’s sister, Malenesha. After responding to the query, she went for a walk. She saw Malenesha sitting on the stoep of her home. She went to her to tell her that someone was looking for her.
“While speaking to Malenesha, McLean appeared. He invited the complainant inside the yard. She came in and smoked a cigarette while sitting on the stoep. Malenesha invited her inside the house.”
While sitting on the couch, Malenesha disappeared. When the victim asked McLean where his sister was, he told her that she left to visit a friend. As she was preparing to leave, he became aggressive and pushed her in order to prevent her from leaving.
“He threw her on the bed and told her that he would make her a woman. He started hitting her with his fists and smothered her with a pillow on her face. She became dizzy and he raped her. She cried and told McLean that she was a lesbian but he continued to rape her,” Ntabazalila said.
After her ordeal, the victim went home and told her mother what happened. She then called the police and McLean was arrested.
The ordeal had so much impact on her, she attempted suicide. She also started self-harming. Some members of her community were aware of the rape and passed snide remarks about her. Some pressured her to withdraw the case, saying they would hurt her if she did not comply.
Meanwhile, McLean, a confessed tik user, is no stranger to the law. He was under a suspended sentence when he raped the victim.
His previous convictions, which ran between 1992 and 2012, were for theft, drug-related offences, housebreakings with intent to steal and robbery, among others.
In 2015, he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, which were suspended for five years with conditions, for the sexual penetration of a minor.
During his appeal, his lawyer argued that the sentence handed down was disproportionate to the offence and that the court overemphasised the seriousness of the offence, at the expense of personal circumstances of the accused.
State advocate, Liezel Scholzel dismissed the argument: “Rape is a very serious offences constituting, as it does, a humiliating, degrading and brutal invasion of privacy, dignity and the person of the victim. It is regarded as a cancer within the society. Not only did the appellant rape the complainant, but he did so with a further motive and out of prejudice that he had against her sexual orientation, causing further serious emotional trauma to the complainant.
“This type of rape has been informally termed as ’corrective’ rape. Corrective rape is not the same as ‘mere’ rape in that it is committed based on prejudice and intolerance. Hate crimes, by nature, cause greater harm than ordinary crimes because they increase the vulnerability of the victims as they are unable to change the characteristics which made them a target,” she said.
She asked that the courts send out a clear message that those types of attacks would not be tolerated.
Dismissing McLean’s appeal against life imprisonment, Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath and Judge Mas-Udah Pangarker heeded the State's call to address the controversial issue of “corrective rape” as a hate crime and serious form of gender-based violence which is often not addressed on behalf of the victims.