So traumatised was one of the victims of a gang of nine men, who were this week found guilty of a series of rapes and robberies in Kagiso, that at one point after her brutal attack she considered buying a gun.
“Before, I never pictured myself owning a gun. Afterwards, though, I even thought of becoming a policewoman just so I could get one,” she said on the sidelines of the High Court in Johannesburg yesterday, as sentencing proceedings got under way.
It has been more than four years since she was accosted at gunpoint, dragged into the veld and gang-raped. And she is still scared.
“I don’t like going out at night. I still don’t feel safe. Not only for myself, but also for my younger sister.”
Her attackers were only arrested two years after the incident and she described this period as “very hard”.
“I didn’t know the people who did this to me so everyone was a suspect and I always felt like there was somebody at my back,” she said. “It got better when I heard that they had been found but I still don’t know if they got all of them.”
Testifying in court, she said, was “heartbreaking”.
“When their lawyers cross-examined me, it almost felt like I was the suspect,” she added.
She was overjoyed when the men were found guilty.
“Finally, someone believed my story,” she said.
Thomas Tivane, Makamu Mapedje, Alex Mabuya, Boavida Chilengue, Gito Maguele, Jordan Bila, Antonio Timbe, George Mabunda and Jeremias Sithole were on Wednesday convicted of an array of violent crimes. These included kidnapping, rape and murder.
The men were also found guilty of contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.