21 January 2013

Namibia: Rape 'Unlimited' in Swakopmund

THERE are no limits to the crime of rape. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and can be administered in any way - as long as rapists get what they want, regardless of the humiliation and pain the victims suffer. This was the case for two Swakopmund women (one 74 years old, and the other 20) last week.

Last Wednesday a 20-year-old woman living in Mondesa was kidnapped and held hostage for over 24 hours, and raped seven times by a man whom she just knew as a "good, friendly person", a 45-year-old Congolese-national. He is now in custody at the Swakopmund Police station.

"He was a friendly person, who seemed to get on well with others. While I have a boyfriend, I never got the impression that this man wanted anything with me. He would sometimes come past the kiosk where I work and greet me and maybe buy something," she explained.

Last Wednesday, the young woman's aunt informed her that the man was apparently looking for her and that she needed to meet him at a local service station.

"He was waiting in a taxi. When I came there, we greeted but then he just grabbed me into the car and told the driver to go. We were driving around and I did not know what was going on. I started crying because we were driving away from my home to the DRC [informal settlement]. When the driver asked why I was crying, the man told him it was nothing; that I was just a 'sister' and owed him something," she explained.

After arriving at the man's 'ghetto', he forced her in and allegedly demanded she take her clothes off. She refused. He then slapped her before removing his clothes, forcing her onto his bed, forcing her clothes off, and then having unprotected sex with her, according to her.

"I was scared. I let him do it because I was scared he would kill me," she said.

He locked her in the ghetto; one time buying her credit for her cellphone before allegedly holding a knife to her throat, demanding she send an SMS to her aunt and boyfriend to tell them that she was alright and was with friends in Walvis Bay.

He allegedly raped her again on several occasions: if she did not 'behave well' around a friend that came to visit him; or did not want to eat the food he offered her; or tried to feign an SMS that her family was telling her to come home because her grandmother was deathly ill. From Wednesday to the following day, she had allegedly been raped seven times.

On Thursday afternoon she seized an opportunity to escape.

"He left to go buy and cigarettes at a kiosk without locking the door. I took my things and put on what I could and got out of there. I slipped through the yards, running. People were looking at me, laughing, maybe wondering what I was doing running like that. I got a taxi home and told my family everything. We went to the police, and they went to his place and arrested him," she said.

"I will have to deal with this for the rest of my life. I don't think I will be able to trust any man again because he just seemed like another friendly person."

He will appear in the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court today (Mon, Jan 21). The incident was confirmed by second in command of the Erongo police, deputy commissioner Andreas Nelumbu.

Meanwhile, a 74-year old women from Kramersdorf was raped in her house last Sunday.

According to Nelumbu, the victim left her house to walk a visitor home. She locked the gate but not the front door. The yard is surrounded by high walls, so the gate would be the only way in.

When she returned home she was met by the suspect, who was inside her house.

Nelumbu said the impostor grabbed her and tied her hands behind her back; blindfolding her. He then forced her into the bedroom where he raped her. He fled the scene with the victim's mobile phone. He was not known to the victim, and has not been arrested yet.

"What happened there is between him and the devil. All I can say is that this is madness," Nelumbu said.

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