11 April 2013

South Africa: Girl's Rape Video On Social Media

Lusikisiki — Ayanda*, a 19-year-old girl from Joe Slovo Park, was drugged and then filmed while three men raped her. One of the men was her boyfriend, Siyanda*, who alledgedly said that by filming the act he wanted to make her famous.

Ayanda woke up the next morning, not nowing what happened, until the video started doing the rounds on social media. She immediately went to the police and lay charges of rape, drugging and pornography against the three men.

"She was examined by the doctor and he confirmed that she was drugged and gang raped. She received HIV counselling and was given a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The police are looking for the suspects so that the law can takes its course," said one of the investigating officers.

A grade 10 learner at Ayanda's school, Zusiphe*, said: "The news about what happened to Ayanda spread throughout the school after assembly when a learner posted these visuals to the social networks. Later on the teachers happened to see it. She became a laughing stock and we all commented about her being made famous. This is unacceptable because she left school during the first break and did not attend school since then."

A teacher at the school commented that: "Students are not allowed to bring their cellphones to school. But we were all shocked by this video and the learners became uncontrollable because they were glued to their phones. Everybody was talking about it and she hasn't been at school since that day."

A member of the ward committee, Treatment Action Campaign and ANC Women's League in Cahnan location told OurHealth: "This came to my attention after my eldest daughter showed me the visuals of Ayanda having sex with these men. It is alleged that she was drugged with whoonga. They all raped her while she was unconscious. This is not the first time such a brutal incident occured but rape cases are being dragged out or somehow lost from the criminal justice system, before the trial is concluded."

The Women's League and other women's rights organisations said they will support Ayanda and her family during the trial as it is often very hard and very emotional for the survivor.

Ayanda's mother told OurHealth: "I am shocked, and my daughter is very traumatised and distressed. Rape is out of hand. Everyday women and children are raped in our communities. Our justice system is failing women. There are poor counselling facilities for rape survivors and their families."

Ayanda said: "I am developing new feelings such as aggression, embarrassment, loss of trust and an inability to see my future where things look different from what I am experiencing now. Though I am feeling emotional pain and suffering as a result of being raped, I want to give myself a space and time to feel or rather express my feelings and share them. But most of all I still have faith in life and this is my positive belief about life".

* Not their real names.

Tandeka Vinjwa-Hlongwane is an OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from Lusikisiki in the OR Tambo health district in the Eastern Cape

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