The high court in Pretoria yesterday heard that he occasionally dragged her around by her hair, made her have sex with a prostitute while he watched and forced her to have sex with him several times a day.
This is according to forensic criminologist Dr Pixie du Toit, who testified for the 39-year-old woman in the couple’s trial, which was adjourned for several months and continued yesterday.
Du Toit said: “Today she is here before the court facing many charges.
“But who helped her when she needed it?” she asked.
Du Toit said the frail woman was helpless against her (then) burly husband, who allegedly used and abused her as he saw fit.
The couple are facing an array of charges relating to the alleged neglect and abuse of their five children. They are also facing a charge of attempted murder of their son, then 11, who was severely assaulted by the husband.
It is claimed that the mother did nothing to help or defend her children against her abusive husband.
She maintained from the start that she too was a victim of her husband’s aggression.
A doctor who examined her after the couple’s arrest in 2014 noted at least 14 injuries on her body.
The couple avoid each other in the dock.
The man, dressed in his usual purple shirt, speak to a few friends during court breaks, when they come to court to support him, while the mother quietly sits on the opposite side of the courtroom, where she is assisted by a family member.
Du Toit testified that the woman had been emotionally and physically abused by her husband soon after they got engaged.
She said it was difficult for people to understand why she remained with her husband, but this was common for abused women.
She simply wanted love and acceptance, and her husband wasn’t always abusive. He from time to time took her on holiday and gave her material things. The mother said he was good to her at times.
But he was also manipulative and blamed her when he assaulted the children, by telling her “see what you made me do”.
When she threatened to leave him, he would either tell her that she would never see the children again or he threatened to shoot himself in front of the children.
Du Toit said although the mother was not able to safeguard her children against her husband, it did not mean that she did not love them.
According to the mother, her husband was volatile, and she never knew when the next assault on her or the children would be.
She tried to please him at all times, the court heard.
Du Toit testified that in her opinion, the wife was raped on several occasions by her husband, who insisted on having sex several times a day. She described the mother as “not being streetwise”, and she could barely read or write.
She said the woman had no idea that she could seek help from outside for her problems.
Du Toit added that she was not sure if the mother understood the court process, as legal terms were used, such as she had a “legal duty” to safeguard her children.
But Judge Eben Jordaan said it was clear to him that she understood it was her duty as their mother to take care of them.
Du Toit was adamant that the mother was also a victim of her husband’s abuse.
Judge Jordaan at this point remarked that he understood that the State wanted the woman to testify as a State witness against her husband.
“For some reason, she refused and said she would not testify against him,” the judge said.
But Du Toit said this was because she was given certain advice by some people, which she just accepted.
The trial continues.