Rape survivor narrates her rape story

Johannesburg: Gender-based violence is increasing day by day in South Africa. It is again highlighted through the rape and attempted murder of a Johannesburg woman by a man she had recently befriended. 

According to the interview of a 47-year-old victim who survived a rape ordeal after being stabbed more than 30 times and left by her victims for dead near a shopping mall in the south of Johannesburg on Human Rights Day in March. 

The perpetrator, someone she knew, was also arrested that same day after he was caught with bloodspot clothes not too far from the crime location. 

According to the rape victim, Eliza Raphael, she had often seen him creeping in the bush, and he informed her that he was wanted for murder and showed the same knife he used to attack her.

As per the crime reports against women in South Africa, Statistics of South Africa states that strangers commit only 29% of GBV cases, while 50% of cases are committed by someone who knows or is close to the victim, such as friends or acquaintances, a spouse or partner or a relative or household member. The rest of the crimes are attempted by “others.”

Raphael vanishes into her dimly lit shack that she shares with her 11-year-old daughter and five-year-old grandchild. She whispers while wiping the tears from her swollen cheek. Then Raphael recalls the day when her attacker, a man she had seen and talked to numerous times, followed her into the dense bush behind the Mall of the South where she went to collect water for the mielies she sells on the side of the road. 

When he came, I was not shocked or scared because he was someone I already Knew. I asked him to help me to carry the five-liter bucket of water in my hands when I started walking. I could hear that he was also walking with me, and then suddenly, from nowhere, he put a rope around my neck. Then I asked him: Why you are doing this? He answered Do not scream and then he took out a knife. He said: I want your vagina.”

Furthermore, Raphael stated that she was literally tired of screaming, but the man she had once offered tea & a free mielie cob when he used to be hungry was now a damaging beast breathing heavily down her neck as he warned to kill her.

“He raped me, and when he was finally done raping me, he said that he was now going to kill me, and when I asked why, he said because I would tell the police.”

When I tried to convince him and told him that I would not be going to report because I didn’t know him or his address, he was not ready to listen to me or leave me alive. 

After raping her, he stabbed her up to 30 times and left her bleeding and dead. 

When I saw that he was gone, then only I tried to walk to the traffic lights where the taxis are and demanded for help,” she said. 

Today, she says she is lucky that she is alive but will live with the imperfections of the brutal attack for the rest of her life.