my 8-year rape hell is over, thanks to Sowetan

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Keneilwe, not her real name, sat eating a sandwich yesterday.

She was happy that the two men who raped her in 2000 had been sentenced to an effective 15 years each in prison.

"Thank you Sowetan for this. Had it not been for this newspaper highlighting my plight, I would have been just another rape statistic. A woman raped and her assailants walking free. I am thankful," she said.

Keneilwe was only 14 years old when she was raped nine years ago.

She reported the incident to the police and the men were arrested but released on bail. Three years later, she was still waiting for justice.

Then she was told the case had been withdrawn because of lack of evidence.

"My parents and I insisted and went back to the police. There was evidence, I did not understand what they were talking about. I had pointed the men out to the police. I knew who had raped me and how," she said.

Her case was reinstated and the men were charged again.

"From there the case was postponed 48 times. It is a record. I think they were trying to frustrate me. They wanted me to forget.

"That was why I went to Sowetan. And the newspaper took up my case. I am now proud. I can walk with my head high. I wish they could have received more, but I am satisfied that they are paying for what they did."

Her mother said: "When the case was struck off the roll three years later, it looked certain that my daughter's attackers had escaped jail altogether, not knowing that this was just one of many unreported cases of victims who find justice at last, very long last."

Keneilwe was raped by her two fellow villagers at Malebitsa in the Moutse area of Limpopo.

"The police never quite explained to us why the case was being postponed so many times," MKeneilwe's mother said.

The family said from their RDP house that they expected to go back to living normally again.

"I am going to try to forget. I know it is difficult knowing that you have been violated. But I want to put it past me," Keneilwe said.

She said she was raped by the men after they had been drinking at a shebeen.