Cape Town – Pretending to be dead is the reason a Samora Machel woman who said she was kidnapped and throttled in bushes 3km from her home is still alive.
The 24-year-old was allegedly kidnapped by two men on Saturday night after she had gone out with them and her friends and asked them to drop her at home.
But the men had other plans for her.
Angry and traumatised, the woman, whose name is being withheld as she fears further victimisation, yesterday took the Cape Times to the scene where she fought for her life.
“I was walking home, coming back from visiting my sister. I wanted her to know I was in town for a few days. Then I saw my friends whom I haven’t seen in a while, with two men in a car.”
The woman grew up in Cape Town and works in North West.
“They convinced me to go with them to a popular lodge in Gugulethu. I have never been to Gugulethu and they agreed to take me home early, as I was still tired from travelling.
“On the way, one of the men asked for my number and claimed to like me, but I brushed him off. After drinking I was exhausted and wanted to go. But the men had gone to the car.”
She said her friends, who were not ready to go home yet, told her to ask the men to drop her at home.
“They agreed, and while driving, I noticed they were not using the same route we had used when going to the lodge. I remember passing by Siqalo, and when I asked where we were going no one responded. I was confused and worried, but I didn’t want to show it.”
She said the car stopped near big bushes and the passenger jumped out, calling for her to step out of the vehicle.
“He opened the door and demanded I get out. Still confused, I told him they couldn’t drop me there in the dark. The driver was on his phone, looking to the side. As I stepped out, the man pushed me against the car and slapped me. That’s when I knew something was definitely wrong.
“I thought he was furious that I had rejected him earlier. He pulled me by my hair and repeatedly punched me, so I fought back. During the fight, I slipped and fell, and he dragged me into the bushes,” she said.
“While I was on the ground screaming for help and fighting to get up, the man placed his knee on my chest and started throttling me hard. I could feel my body giving in, because I couldn’t breathe properly.
“I decided to pretend to be dead. He stopped and placed his fingers on my neck to feel my pulse and on my nose to feel if I was still breathing, but I held my breath.
“It was so hard and painful, but he was convinced I was dead.”
She said when the man got off her and she felt he was walking away, she opened her eyes slightly and saw a big rock next to her.
“I don’t know if he was going to kill me and leave me there for dead or if they were going to come back.
“I didn’t know where I was running, but I kept falling and running in those dark bushes, and ended up on the main road.
“I saw Samora Machel (settlement) from afar and ran home. When I got home in tears, I lied to my mother and said I fought at the club.
“I don’t want to make my mother more sick by telling her what really happened to me.”
The woman has refused to open a case with the police, claiming the police will say she was drinking.
She also said she opened an assault case years ago, but to date no perpetrator had been arrested.
“I have also seen many women report gender-based violence cases and their perpetrators don’t get prosecuted, or, even worse, they are subjected to secondary victimisation. How will my case be different? The only thing I can accept at this stage is counselling.”
Police did not comment, and said a case had to be opened.
Gender-based violence advocacy group Ilitha Labantu spokesperson, Siyabulela Monakali encouraged women to report gender-based violence, saying that was the only way to bring about change in society.
“There are many organisations like Ilitha Labantu that can stand by her until justice is served. The victim needs to take the first step, and by doing so she might be protecting other women from the alleged perpetrators.
“The cycle of gender-based violence must come to an end. We encourage her to be brave and allow herself to be helped,” Monakali said.