‘He said sex with a virgin could cure HIV’
Johannesburg - A Soweto man allegedly raped his two-year-old daughter, believing it would cure him of HIV.
This chilling evidence is part of a police investigation into the rape of the child on February 3.
As she struggles to recover, the child’s mother, Mihloti* has accused the police of trying to stall the case by not updating her on its progress.
“It has been two months since my child was raped but I don’t know if that man was ever in court. I don’t know if he is still in custody or if he was released on bail. If he was ever in court, why was I never told?” she asked on Wednesday.
News of the girl’s rape follows in the wake of the death of a two-year-old girl from Pulaneng Village near Tzaneen in Limpopo last week. She was allegedly raped by her father’s close friend.
In Soweto, Mihloti said she was living in fear of her life as she had been receiving threatening phone calls from the alleged perpetrator’s family.
“His sister keeps calling me, accusing me of spreading lies about her brother and wanting to destroy his life. I have to go for treatment and collect ARVs at the clinic, but I can’t go because I’m scared because his family live near the clinic,” she said.
Mihloti added that she regretted not taking the man’s statements seriously last year, when he asked her if she knew that having sex with a virgin could cure HIV.
“I thought he was joking. I asked him where he would get a virgin nowadays. He said even a child could cure it,” she recalled.
Despite the man being HIV-positive, Mihloti said she laughed off and dismissed his utterances “as a sick joke”.
She did have a premonition that the man could one day rape their child – then 15 months old – but suppressed her feelings.
Her fears became real when, on February 3, she discovered their daughter had been raped.
The man had on the same day, at about 3pm, fetched his daughter at her home, saying he was going to buy her some food and nappies at a nearby supermarket. He brought her back that evening.
“The girl kept crying, especially when she urinated or excreted. She pointed at her private parts, saying her father had hurt her. When I checked, I saw that she had cuts around her private parts,” Mihloti added.
Worried, she reported the matter to Moroka police station the next day.
After making a statement, the police accompanied her to Nthabiseng Thuthuzela Care Centre at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Academic Hospital, where the rape was confirmed. The man was then arrested.
Mihloti said she did not hear anything from the investigating officer until March 29, when another police officer came to say someone else had taken over the case.
“I have never heard anything from the new police officer,” she said.
A police spokesperson, Captain Mpande Khoza, said the case was due back in court on Monday.
“The investigating officer received the docket from the previous investigating officer only last week. He does not know if the suspect is out on bail,” Khoza added.
The clinical director at the Teddy Bear Clinic, Dr Shaheda Omar, said more education was needed to dispel the myth that raping children or having sex with a virgin was a cure for HIV.
“It’s ridiculous to think that when you are infected, violating a virgin or a victim is going to take away the infection.
“It’s nothing more than a criminal offence,” Omar said.
Childline’s director in Gauteng, Lynne Cawood, agreed. “It’s ludicrous to think that raping a child or a virgin could cure HIV.”
According to statistics provided by Solidarity Helping Hand Women in Action, a woman is raped every 17 seconds in South Africa.
It is estimated that only one in nine women reports being raped, and that only 14 percent of perpetrators of rape are convicted. - The Star
* Not her real name
- Rape helpline: 08000 55 555
- Childline: 08000 55 555
- Stop Gender Abuse: 0800 150 150
- People Opposing Women Abuse (Powa): 083 765 1235