Cape Town - A Grabouw teen has defied the odds, surviving a brutal rape and assault – in which she was stabbed, throttled and buried alive under a pile of rocks – to identify her attacker, leading to his arrest.
Police have confirmed that a 22-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident and appeared in the Grabouw Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of rape, attempted murder and robbery. The matter was postponed to September 21.
The 14-year-old girl had been sent by her aunt to fetch her cousins from their grandmother’s house on Saturday night.
She almost didn’t make it home.
Discovering her grandmother and cousins were not there, she began making her way back to her home in Rooidak informal settlement in the Overberg town.
The teenager was then allegedly grabbed by an assailant, dragged off to a vacant lot on Granny Smith Street, before being raped, beaten, stabbed, throttled and left for dead. Thinking she had died, her attacker allegedly covered her in a pile of rocks and fled the scene.
The girl froze, waiting for her attacker to leave before she dug her way out from under the rocks.
The brave teenager then got up and made her way back home.
“She crawled and walked here (to the Rooidak informal settlement) where she told us she was raped,” her 19-year-old sister said.
She was the first person to see her as she stumbled into their home. “When my sister walked in the front door, she was bleeding from her genitals, ears and mouth – I just remember screaming after that.”
Sitting in their grandmother’s home in Xolanaledi in Grabouw on Monday, the girl’s family recounted her ordeal.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC VISUALS
The victim’s aunt had sent her to fetch her cousins, aged three and eight.
“We got worried when it got late and she had not returned from her grandmother’s house,” her aunt said.
Her sister was sitting in the lounge when the 14-year-old stumbled in at around 1am on Sunday morning, smeared in blood, naked from the waist down and with a screwdriver protruding from her neck.
Her hands were bound with wire and her mouth was gagged with one of her pink and white ankle socks.
The family recalls bruising on the teenager’s neck, where her attacker tried to strangle her with her underwear. He had then allegedly tried crushing her skull with one of the rocks that lay scattered around the empty plot.
“She also named him (her attacker) before she lost consciousness. She said he screamed at her, ‘why are you not dying?’ as he pounded her with the rocks.
“She said he wanted to kill her to get rid of evidence but it is by the grace of God that she survived,” the girl’s aunt said.
The family said the girl’s arm had been broken in three places and her skull had been fractured.
Her sister, filled with fury and shock, ran to the alleged attacker’s home to tell his mother what he had done.
“His mother did not even come. She came an hour after and then she just looked and left,” the girl’s sister said.
The family said that police investigators and a trauma counsellor had informed them that the attacker later admitted the crime to his mother.
The family told the Cape Argus that the ambulance arrived before the police.
They claim the police took no statements and didn’t ask for the girl’s blood-stained clothes.
The family said that if it was not for the young girl’s bravery, police would still have been searching for a suspect.
When the Cape Argus visited the crime scene – strewn with towering rocks and trees – there was no indication that an investigation was under way.
Bloodied rocks signified that a struggle had taken place. A pink and white ankle sock was covered with dirt while the rain threatened to wash away any evidence that may have remained.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut advised the family to lodge a complaint at the Grabouw police station so that “allegations of poor service delivery can be investigated”.
Around 30 members of the Grabouw community marched to the station on Monday demanding justice.
The girl is in a stable condition in hospital. Her mother remains at her side, afraid to speak to the media out of fear of retaliation.
The girl’s sister said: “I want him to rot in jail for what he did. He must face the full might of the law.”