As we move towards the World Trauma Day on the 17th October, one becomes acutely aware of the need to continue fighting for the rights of victims and to raise an awareness of the effect of trauma. Regardless of how much effort we put into preventing crime, sexual violence will always be with us.
This past weekend was a weekend of hell at the iThemba rape and trauma support centre between Friday and Monday our centre assisted with 12 cases. Friday evening started with a 61 year old lady who had been raped and stabbed and needed to be admitted to hospital, the first of four rape cases who were so brutally raped they all needed to be referred to a hospital for further medical treatment.
One of the four referred could barely walk she had been so badly violated, a mother of three children who now need someone else to look after them. Our youngest victim being a four year old rape victim also needed to go to hospital for reconstructive surgery whilst our oldest victim was a 70 year old lady who was gang-raped in her own home. The list could go on: a 13 year mentally challenged child, an 11 year old raped, a 12 year old raped by a family member, there was even a male rape who had also been severely assaulted and stabbed. The only good news our staff had from police was that there were three arrests made this weekend.
Philip Stoneman, director of iThemba stated: ” We may not stop rape, but we can ensure that effective systems are implemented to respond timously and effectively to victims of sexual violence, offering rape victims physical and emotional support so that they feel safe enough to come forward and report the rape to the police or at various rape crisis centres.We also need to make certain that the forensic examination of these rape victims is of a such a high standard, that when the police do arrest the perpetrator, we are certain of putting them away for a long time!”