Survivors speak out about South African rape
JOHANNESBURG — On the morning of July 28, eight young models were thrilled when they left for a movie shoot. They were out of work for a long time due to the coronavirus pandemic, but were selected to appear in the music video.
The pay was minimal — they were doing it virtually for free — but it wasn't the money that got them excited, it was the opportunity. Maybe this is the chance they've been waiting for and when their careers finally take off.
But there was no lucky break. Instead, it will be the worst day of their lives.
South Africa is a country at war with women. She has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the world, and eight more names were added to the long list of survivors that day in July.
I met her four young women and bravely told their tragic stories. They were accompanied by their mother, who held back her tears as she heard her daughters tell of the terrible ordeal. CBS News changed the names at their request to protect their identities.
A crew of 22 filmed in an abandoned mine in Krugersdorp near Johannesburg. As they were wrapping up their final scene, sisters Bontle and Amanda explained that a gang of armed men stormed the set and forced everyone to the ground. The sisters often finished each other's sentences when one was too distressed to speak.
"Some of us tried to escape," said Bontle, who is 19. "But we couldn't because they were shooting."
"And there were men spread everywhere," her sister Amanda interrupted. "They were growing. Probably fifteen or more."
The women were surrounded by attackers, wearing balaclavas and lying face down in deep pits. Male members of the crew were stripped naked and held captive elsewhere.
First, everyone was robbed of their phones and cash. Then came rape. The women told her CBS News that the attackers took turns with all eight of her women and that she was tortured and brutalized for over three hours before the captives escaped.
"We were crying. Some girls. They also screamed while we were raping them," said Bontle.
"And in front of us," continued Amanda.
Men threatened to shoot women if they refused to cooperate.
"He said he would kill me if I didn't listen to him," said Amanda. "And let him do what he says, for I have no choice. And he has taken me to places like next to the pit."124} At that point she was sobbing, unable to continue, her eyes wide with terror, fighting to speak.
Her sister Bontle was dragged to another location and raped twice. When her third man approached her, she thought she was going to die.
"I saw him actually trying to rape me. Then I said to him: 'I'm bleeding, I can't.' I had a miscarriage.
They put her back in the pit and then left her alone.
When the women were attacked, her friend Jintor managed to climb a tree and hide for about an hour. When she heard nothing more, she jumped down, but she was grabbed by one of the men and raped.
Next, 26-year-old Anita was the leader of the group and the one who recruited her friends for the video shoot. She now lives with a terrible sense of guilt, blaming herself for what happened. She begged her men to take her instead of her friends.
"I just asked you not to touch any of the women," she said. ``If you must be me, let me be.''
But no one was spared, and she was gang-raped many times.
Old wounds reopened for Anita. Now this.
"But now that it has happened again, why am I in this world? Am I made to be a victim of rape, or am I put into this world?" And every time I tried to make something good, it would come and start again." She could not continue. Her bitter sobs filled her room. She eventually fled the scene. Abused and traumatized women went straight to the police station to report the crime. After that, he was assaulted a second time. Names and addresses leaked to social media. Anita was devastated.
"I wondered why you didn't die, because it is of no use. You are killing me again. Now you have already killed me." you took my innocence, my innocence, and now you want to kill me physically, I can't even go out and my neighbors can't see me , just can't even breathe without seeing my frustration and seeing that I'm not okay."
The month commemorates the heroic fight of South African women against apartheid. But these days, there's not much to celebrate. It turned into a month of mourning. A woman is raped almost every 12 minutes she is.
But this latest gang rape has pushed a country worn out by sexual violence to the limit. We put it to the test against what many see as ineffective and even distraught policing.
The suspect in the attack is said to have spoken no South African language. Police have arrested more than 120 of her men, all of whom are staying illegally. No one has been charged with rape. Authorities claim to test their DNA to see if it matches the evidence collected from the victims.
Lisa Betton, a researcher in the Gendered Violence and Urban Transformation Project at the University of Johannesburg, has is letting women down.
"You can really see how the number of rapes convicted and prosecuted has dropped in this decade," she told CBS News. Told. "If you are looking at it - and it goes hand in hand with your worsening treatment by the police - there is no incentive to report either. To see justice."
The young women CBS News spoke to have lived in fear since the attack. Every night, Anita said, "someone was grabbing my arm and I smelled one of the men raping me." said to wake up
They say they jump whenever they hear gunshots, and fear that their attackers will seek retribution now that they are known.
"We fear not only for our own lives, but for the lives of our families, and we don't know what to do anymore.Because it's not safe right now," Bontle said.
For them, like thousands of women in South Africa, the emotional scars remain long after the physical injuries have healed.
- Sexual Violence
- South Africa
- Sexual Assault
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