Thu Oct 27 09:08:43 SAST 2016

Let's ensure that justice prevails over evil of rape

By unknown | Oct 08, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Yesterday I attended the trial of the four young boys who are facing charges of rape and murder in the Johannesburg high court.

Yesterday I attended the trial of the four young boys who are facing charges of rape and murder in the Johannesburg high court.

As my personal commitment to highlighting - and as a way of demonstrating my empathy with millions of women who have become statistics of the dastardly crime of rape - I decided to attend the trial. I sincerely hope that justice will prevail over evil.

The late Thato Radebe was killed at the age of 14. Her body was found in a fenced-off piece of veld near the Emdeni library in February last year.

At the time of the gruesome and cold-blooded discovery people were shocked and angry. There was an outcry not only from the public but also from politicians and social commentators, who slammed the cold-blooded, cruel and painful act exerted on Thato before her tiny and scarred body was separated from her soul.

At the crime scene, blood-stained stones, broken liquor bottles and used condoms bore testimony to one of the most horrific crimes ever committed on a child. Personally, it affected me very badly because I know the area where she was murdered well.

Thato was a student at Bedfordview High School in Johannesburg at the time of her murder. Her lifeless body, with her mouth wide open, lay on the blood-spattered ground.

The gruesome scene will always remind my infected conscience how the course of nature has been reversed and turned around by other members of the (in)human race.

Yesterday in court, Happy Radebe, who lost her only child on that fateful evening, looked helpless and confused as the proceedings were adjourned, pending a plea bargain with one of the accused. He has requested to be separated from the other accused because he fears being harmed by his alleged accomplices.

As I sat in the public gallery in court 2B, I felt Happy Radebe's loneliness and the trauma of losing a child in this cruel manner. These emotions were still evident on the mother's pale face.

Then I recalled the immediate reaction after Thato's brutal murder and rape. Where are the voices that condemned the murder? How soon we have let the widespread condemnation of that inhumane act of brutality fade away. Why has our outcry died down so quickly? Where are the crocodile tears that we cried collectively as a nation?

Is this deafening silence the reason rape, murder, HIV-Aids, child molestation and all the other social anomalies continue unabated?

I think that all of us, as a nation, lack the necessary resolve and the stamina to deal decisively with these horrendous acts that continue to maim and kill our children, our mothers and indeed ourselves.

Do we make the most noise, like empty vessels, only for the sake of capturing headlines and for increasing our popularity?

As the wheels of justice grind on, we must never forget the horrible experiences of rape victims. Those who survive and also those like Thato, who did not survive.

I pledged my continued support to keep young Thato's memory alive when I spoke at her funeral.

I will keep my word and I urge every one of you never to forget, nor to tolerate such acts of indelible cruelty and barbarism. If we don't act against these horrors, they will certainly destroy us all.


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