Little girl's nightmare
PLAYING in your neighbourhood's streets with your friends should not be such a dangerous activity, but for an eight-year-old girl of Sebokeng, in the Vaal, her own front yard became a sexual predator's hunting ground.
"I was playing in the streets with my friends and this man gave me R1 and said I must go to the shop to buy him two cigarettes," she told Sowetan.
When she went to his house to give him his cigarettes he pulled her into the house and shut the door.
"He threw me onto the bed and raped me," she said.
The door had been left unlocked and her rapist's brother discovered them.
He immediately alerted their sister.
"His sister took me home and and they called my mother," she said.
Her mom was so angry she grabbed a knife and had to be prevented from attacking the man, the girl related.
The man was beaten up by the community.
When asked how old the man was, the girl replied: "He is as old as my grandfather".
This happened in January last year and in June the man was sentenced by the Sebokeng Magistrate's Court to 20 years' imprisonment for her rape, in addition to a separate life sentence for the rape of a disabled girl.
The little girl said she was very scared that people would call her names because of what happened to her.
During the trial she was scared that other people would be around to see her and hear her story.
"I used to have bad dreams, but not anymore. I just want to forget what happened," she said.
She received counselling from the Stratford Clinic Crisis Centre and her file was "closed", meaning she had received the amount of counselling the social worker had prescribed for her.
The girl's teenage cousin, however, said the experience had changed her.
"She used to play with other children, but she doesn't anymore. She plays all alone. Even when she's sent to the shop she sometimes brings the wrong things back. And she cries a lot and when we ask her what's wrong she'll say she fell or hurt herself, but we don't see any scratches or anything," she said.
"Her performance at school dropped as well and her parents had to be called. So now that he's in jail maybe she can go back to concentrating at school," she said.