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Kimberley - A 53-year-old Galeshewe man is facing a rape charge after he was arrested hours after exchanging his vows.

Police on Tuesday confirmed that the suspect was arrested on Saturday night following an incident in Phomolong, Galeshewe, on Friday night.

“The 43-year-old woman was allegedly raped by her boyfriend on Friday night at approximately 10 pm,” police spokesperson Captain Bashoabile Kale said on Tuesday.

According to the woman, she and the suspect got into an argument after which he allegedly raped her.

After the incident, she says she went to the hospital for forensic testing before reporting the case at the Kagisho police station in Galeshewe.

The next day she says she approached the suspect and he once again became violent with her, leaving her injured. She said that the suspect’s brother then came out of the house and told her not to “spoil my brother’s wedding day”.

“I didn’t even know that he was planning on getting married,” she said.

According to the police, the suspect appeared in the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court on Monday and was released on bail of R1 000. The woman claims not to have even known about his appearance or that he had been released on bail.

“I feel I have been victimised and am now fearing for my life and have taken a protection order out against him,” she said.

News of the alleged incident has meanwhile made it to the pulpit of the St James Methodist Church in Kimberley.

The minister of the church, Obusitswe Tiroyabone, penned a public letter to congregants, in which he names both the victim and her alleged rapist.

“It has been reported that one of our leaders has been raped by another leader. I am outraged that one of our respected brothers has forcefully taken advantage of a woman and invaded her body. Such behaviour is totally unacceptable,” Pastor Tiroyabone states in the letter.

“We must be angry when a woman’s body is invaded. It matters not who has done it and what standing they have in the church and community, when a woman’s body is invaded we must be angry! We condemn this behaviour with the strongest condemnation and we are firmly against rape and sexual violence.”

Tiroyabone states that he has relieved the man accused of the incident of “all his leadership responsibilities as a class leader and chairperson of the Young Men’s Guild with immediate effect”.

“I have also suspended him from the ministry of preaching.”

The minister further calls on the congregants to support the victim “in her quest for justice”.

“We are aware that many a time perpetrators of sexual violence and rape walk free because of the corrupt and ineffective justice system in our country as well as the victim’s reluctance to report and go through trial. We cannot afford as her siblings to allow (the victim) to give up. We must be angry at (the alleged rapist) and we must hold (the victim’s) hand at this time.

“I call upon the Women’s Manyano to wear all black on Thursday and Saturday at their prayer meetings. The Young Men’s Guild is to also wear all black at their prayer meeting on Saturday as we weep with (the victim) and declare our stance that it shall not happen in our name.”

All Methodists in the St James society are asked to wear all black on Sunday at both the 7 am and 9 am services “as we declare that the MCSA is a place of worship that does not support rape perpetrators, but condemns them”.

“We shall pray for the end of this scourge and for (the alleged rapist) and those like him to repent and seek healing and salvation from this behaviour from God.

“I believe her (the victim) when she says her rights have been violated and her body has been invaded. I believe her ... I believe that she is not a woman scorned, but she is a woman violated, I believe her."

“I call upon you fellow Methodists to join me as we support (the victim) during the trial procedure by attending the court appearances wearing black.”

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