Pastor says rape victims are discriminated against
A LIMPOPO sodomy victim has accused the government of discriminating against rape victims.
Mike Goldstein, a functionary of the Children Alive Ministry, said the victim empowerment programme had been running for more than 10 years but had done nothing to assist victims.
Goldstein, 55, became a rape victim in August 2006 while he was working in Giyani.
The perpetrator, Victor Reckson Baloyi, was sentenced in November 2007 to 23 years imprisonment for sodomising Goldstein and stealing his belongings.
Now the pastor says there is no support for victims in court when they go to testify in their cases.
"Each police station should have trauma centres to assist victims of abuse and rape when they report the crime to the police.
But this is not happening in the province," Goldstein said yesterday.
He said there used to be such a centre in Giyani but it disappeared when the police station was rebuilt.
The committees that run the programme are made up of various stakeholders, including the SAPS, social development and all government departments and NGOs working with contact crime victims.
Most of them are dysfunctional. A few have volunteers who do debriefing of rape victims, explaining their rights.
"No rape victim activists are being being used to help other rape victims, unlike HIV-Aids directorates that use people living with Aids as Aids ambassadors," Goldstein said.
He said rape victims got intimidated the minute they started reporting about what they went through at police stations.
"The attitude displayed by the police towards victims is exactly what makes victims reluctant to speak about those things," he said.
He said victims were supposed to be counselled before to their presentations because they will have gone through "a lot of trauma".
When he was raped, he said, there was no protocol for rape victims and he was left alone.
A victim empowerment coordinator in the Limpopo department of health and social development, Man Mphasha, yesterday invited victims to come forward and report the alleged atrocities so that they can be followed up.
According to Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme's media and campaign facilitator Rendani Ligudu more than 40 rape victims came forward in December only.