Durban — “I never thought I’d lose my virginity at such a young age and I never thought I’d lose it to my biological father.”
These were the words that were written by a girl who was 13 years old in 2021 when she was raped by her father, who was sentenced to life imprisonment this week in the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court for the rape.
Her Victim Impact Statement was read out in court ahead of the sentencing of the 41-year-old father of three.
Evidence that was heard during the trial was that the girl was raped from March 2020 to March 2021 and she only told of her ordeal when social workers went to her school and gave a talk on sexual abuse.
Her father had threatened to kill her if she told anyone about what he was doing to her.
“I never expected this from him, there’s conflict in our family because of what happened where my dad’s family blames me like I am wrong when it was my dad who wronged me. My heart bled, hearing him deny everything in court. This whole thing destroyed me,” wrote the teen.
She described how her life and behaviour had changed after the rape.
“It changed the plans I had about my future … I did not perform well in school. I lost respect for men and for the man I call my father. I don’t love myself anymore and I feel like everyone knows what happened to me. I wish to ask him why he did this, why he took my life. I wish that he could feel how broken I am in my heart.”
She said that sometimes she wished her mother had never met her father.
“I will always remember how he threatened me when I did not want to sleep with him. The incident abused and hurt my mother. I don’t think my father ever loved me because if he did, he would have not done this. I don’t think I will heal from this.”
In her sentencing, Magistrate Linda Lewis said rape was a scourge nationally and even more so in the Ntuzuma jurisdiction.
“The court can’t give lenient sentences as this will bring the justice system into disrepute and cause society to take the law into its own hands,” she said.
Ahead of sentencing, two presentencing reports were handed to the court. These were compiled by a probation officer and a corrections supervision officer who both interviewed the victim.
“From reading these two reports, her (the victim) pain leaps out of the pages. She will live with this hurt for a very long time. She has been moved away from her family and lives in a home for children, she has failed at school and has no social life and it will be hard for her to get some normality into her life.
“She is the victim but her father’s family has ostracised her. The people who are supposed to love her are blaming her – her father appears to be an instigator. This child’s future is in jeopardy.”
Lewis said a father was supposed to love and protect his daughter.
“But he raped her for a year, and he would not have stopped if the victim had not found the courage to speak up… What a heinous crime, to be raped by your father!”