That’s why victims don’t report rape - Omotoso's lawyer slated for insensitive questioning

Police officers had their hands full yesterday as supporters for and against controversial televangelist Timothy Omotoso clashed outside the Port Elizabeth high court.
Police officers had their hands full yesterday as supporters for and against controversial televangelist Timothy Omotoso clashed outside the Port Elizabeth high court.
Image: Werner Hills

The alleged harrowing tale of Cheryl Zondi's rape ordeal at the hands of a Nigerian pastor, which was laid bare in open court over the past four days, has drawn support for the alleged victim from all corners of the country.

Zondi took a bold step when she agreed to give testimony on how pastor Timothy Omotoso allegedly sexually assaulted her, over a period of ?? years, in a public court when such cases are usually held in camera.

Her testimony at the Port Elizabeth High Court, which started on Friday, has seen a growing number of support, inside and outside court, especially after Omotoso's defence lawyer Peter Daubbermann was scolded by judge Mandela Makaula for his "unfair" line of questioning.

Cheryl Zondi testified that Pastor Timothy Omotoso called her up to his room, instructed her to close the door behind her, she walked towardsthe bed and kneeled besides it, before he instructed her to jump on the bed.
Cheryl Zondi testified that Pastor Timothy Omotoso called her up to his room, instructed her to close the door behind her, she walked towardsthe bed and kneeled besides it, before he instructed her to jump on the bed.
Image: YALO

In his attempt to poke holes in Zondi's testimony, Daubbermann was accused of asking insensitive questions.

He asked Zondi how far the accused had penetrated her and, according to a rape victim Ndileka Mandela, the lawyer crossed the line.

"He is raping her again. To be asked a question 'how many centimetres of his penis penetrated you?' Really? Does a vagina now have a measuring tape? That's going over the line," Mandela said.

She said such abuse of rape victims in court demonstrated why women are reluctant to report sexual abuse cases.

Her support has continued to grow, and one artist, Nonhlanhla Maseko-Gcabashe, created a graphic of a clinched-fist in Zondi's support which has caught the eye of many.

"When I was putting together that fist, I just thought she exuded so much strength and I just needed something that symbolised what I saw in her."

A blog seemingly created by Zondi has emerged and it details some of the evidence she has given in court.

A snippet from a June 20 post titled 'Trapped' talks about the night Omotoso allegedly summoned Zondi to his room, directed to close the door behind her, walked towards the bed and kneeled besides it, then instructed her to jump on the bed where the accused then asked how she felt about him, to which she responded "Well. what I feel for you is what every daughter feels for her father, daddy."

Although the authenticity of the blog could not be determined by the time of going to print, the details on the blog are exactly in line with the evidence given by Zondi in court.

Yesterday the portfolio committee and the department of women in the Presidency praised Zondi for her bravery and fortitude.

The committee and the minister Bathabile Dlamini, however, expressed outrage at the "brutally inhumane and unnecessary style of cross examination advanced by the Daubermann".

"It is the behaviour of council such as Adv. Daubermann, that dissuades survivors of sexual violence from breaking their silence on this psychologically traumatising form of abuse," said the committee and minister jointly.

They conveyed words of affirmation to Zondi.

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