The rape and human trafficking trial of Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso has captured the attention of the South African public. Omotoso allegedly trafficked more than 30 girls and women from various branches of his church and held them at a house in Umhlanga.
One of these women, Cheryl Zondi, is the first witness in the sensational trial. She has waived her right to be unnamed because she says she wants the world to know what type of man Omotso is.
Zondi has been on the stand since Monday and has endured extensive and graphic questioning from defence attorney Peter Daubermann. Omotoso's counsel has earned the displeasure of members of the public with his aggressive cross-examination.
Here are some of the reactions to the #OmotosoTrial from Twitter where there has been an outpouring of support for Zondi and sharp criticism of both the justice system, who many felt failed sexual violence victims, and the defence attorney's line of questioning:
#OmotosoTrial Duh! It's POWER RELATIONS. A pastor & a teenager are not equals. Saying "YES" or "OK" to a person of authority, who can decide her fate IS NOT consent. A groomer & his victim are NOT equals. A catholic priest & a little boy who doesn't fight him off are NOT equals— Redi Tlhabi (@RediTlhabi) October 16, 2018
Peter Daubermann is shameless, disgusting and despicable. Can he feel our collect anger at his line of questioning of a rape survivor. May NO woman, morally conscious man, government department or business employ his services from hence forth @tumisole #OmotosoTrial #CherylZondi— Tsepiso Shuenyane (@Tsepi_Shuenyane) October 16, 2018
Tim Omotoso's Lawyer tried so hard to make it seem like a 14-year-old Cheryl Zondi pursued a man old enough to be her father and that she gave consent to be raped. That's how far some people can go to protect rapists. It's a sick world. Nevertheless, he failed ✊ #OmotosoTrial— 👑uNdlunkulu (@uNdlunkulu_Xoli) October 15, 2018
I was there and did nothing. #TimothyOmotoso raped those girls and I never believed them. Because a man of God is not for such but today I truly wish I had a gun in those days to shoot him for what he kept doing to our friends and sisters. This is my True story. #OmotosoTrial pic.twitter.com/NsYl2MsKL8— Thanduxolo Jindela (@Ian_Jindela) October 16, 2018
This #OmotosoTrial is making my blood boil!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is too much. She’s the victim. Not the perpetrator, yet she is on trial here. So painful to watch— Liezl van der Merwe (@Liezl_vdMerwe) October 16, 2018
As the #OmotosoTrial brings more of this monsters victims to the stand, please can we understand that not all of them will have Cheryl Zondi’s levels of clarity & strength.
That they may not be as resolute or firm does not make them any less credible. We still believe them.