A Mother’s Broken Trust [analysis]

THE mother of the 10-year-old girl, who was allegedly raped by eight men, expressed shock and anger when she narrated how close she was to some of the suspects.

The alleged rape is said to have taken place at Okandjira village in the Ovitoto area. According to the police, the men, who live in the same village with the girl, raped her on different occasions between September last year and about two weeks ago.

Thirty-two-year-old Magreth told The Namibian that she cursed the men who took aantage of her daughter.

She is seated in front of her shack, where her daughter was sexually assaulted she tries to make a fire, but it is clear she is nervous and not concentrating.

While she is looking for something to offer us to sit on, her toddler insists on being picked up. Frustration and anger build up, and she breaks down saying what is happening to her family is unfair.

“We are struggling so much with life and now this! What have we done to deserve this, especially my daughter? The men who did this to my child are people I regard as family because we drink, eat and laugh together everyday. Why my little girl? She is not even a woman yet,” she says angrily.

While Magreth is taking a breather, her sister Kali joins her. Kali is the one who stumbled upon the sexual assault the night she visited Magreth. She was also instrumental in having the matter reported to the police.

“I found my niece in the house with my sister’s male friend. I asked what he was doing and he said he was sleeping there because the following day he had to go to a nearby farm to work. So I left, but something was bothering me as my little niece was a bit uncomfortable,” she said.

Kali says she went back to her sister’s shack but did not knock and instead watched through a hole in the corrugated zinc sheets of the shack. She said what she saw chilled her spine.

” I froze for a moment. I didn’t know what to do. I had mixed feelings. I was angry and afraid,” she said, adding that the man was kissing the child and fondling her. “I looked around. It was dark outside, and only the lights in the neighbour’s house were on. So I went to call her,” Kali narrates.

The neighbour came, and together with Kali, witnessed the abuse.

“I wanted to scream when I saw his head between her little legs,” the neighbour recalls, “but Kali said the suspect was drunk and he can do anything to all of us if he saw us. I prayed that he would stop,” the neighbour says.

Later, they say the girl got uncomfortable and climbed on the bed where her mother was sleeping, while the suspect was pulling her down but she refused until he fell asleep.

Kali says the suspect first denied, but later admitted to raping the child, claiming he was drunk. He allegedly said that it was not the first time it had happened.

Kali called her niece after school and asked her about what had happened. “She was very nervous and she said nothing happened until she admitted that the ‘uncle’ said if she said anything he would tie her up, kill her and throw her in a nearby well.”

Kali said she also asked her if the suspect was the only one who sexually assaulted her and she said no.

Magreth wanted the matter to be sorted out between the family and her friends, but Kali insisted on taking the matter to the police.

“Before we approached the police, we spoke to a teacher at the child’s school who deals with gender and child issues,” Kali says and the girl eventually named all the men who had molested her.

That same afternoon Magreth and Kali asked all the eight suspects to meet them at their house. Three of the suspects admitted raping the girl while the others denied.

Magreth and Kali reported the men to the police last Wednesday, and the men – aged between 23 and 53 – were arrested. They are currently in custody and were denied bail.

The case was postponed to 19 August to allow for further police investigations.

Source : The Namibian