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Girl (9) raped by father with mother's help

Publish date: 10 April 2017
Issue Number: 721
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

The growing horror of rape in South Africa has been underscored in a new judgment: both parents were imprisoned for the rape of their daughter, just nine years old at the time of the attack. The father told the mother to wake the sleeping child so he could ‘harvest’ his daughter: earlier he had asked the mother: ‘How can you grow a cabbage and then leave it to be harvested by another man?’ As he raped his child, the mother stuffed a cloth into her daughter’s mouth so her cries would not alert anyone else. During the trial the girl estimated that her father had raped her about 50 times. He was, however, charged with two counts and convicted on both. Leading legal commentator Carmel Rickard, who reports on this horrific case in A Matter of Justice, a feature on the Legalbrief site, notes the mother was charged with the rape in which she had woken the child, told her to go to her father and then silenced her screams. The trial judge said that by her actions, the mother had ‘betrayed the womenfolk in whose interest the Sexual Offences Act was enacted’. Sentencing the father to life and the mother to 10 years, he said this was a case of parents ‘who breached their sacred duty to rear their child in love’.

A Matter of Justice