HIV+ rape victim’s 12-year wait for justice

By Maria Kandjungu

AN Okahandja woman who says she was brutally raped while on her menstruation period 12 years ago, recounted in court this week the terrible ordeal that led to her contracting HIV.

Twelve years after the incident, after repeated delays, dismissals and many mishaps in the legal process, the woman in her 30s this week stood tall in the Katutura Magistrate Court as she relived her torments.

She recounted how on the night of 2 May 2008, the suspected perpetrator Nicco Jason, dragged and pushed her over his car where he continued to pull down her pants, rip out her sanitary pad, push aside her underwear before forcibly inserting his penis into her already bleeding vagina and violating her.

According to the purported victim, Jason who was supposed to drive her home from a bar took a different turn. Upon her inquiry he ignored her and continued to drive in the opposite direction from her home, going towards a dark alley close to a riverbed.

“There was a bump on the road, an uneven rough road where he was forced to drive slowly so I opened the door and jumped out but I fell and he came and roughly pulled my scarf from behind, he held me by the throat… strangling me.

“I was drunk before but in that moment I got sober. He ordered me to get on the bonnet of the car. He roughly grabbed me by my throat and pushed me… I kicked. I fought. I screamed at some point, the more I kicked then my pants were going down and I lost strength… He inserted his penis inside of me… He had sexual intercourse with me,” the distraught victim told the silent courtroom.

She said while the perpetrator was committing the despicable acts, she heard someone passing by and started screaming and yelling for help.

“They were throwing stones our way and shouting ‘Hey, hey’. He let go of me and I tried to run but I could not go far.

He caught up with me and he was pushing me around. I asked him to take me home. What I saw on his face when I looked at him, I was afraid of him.

“So I decided to speak to him nicely, I told him I have keys to my friend’s place and we should go there,” adding that she asked him to take her home because it was not possible for her to walk home from the scene as it was far.

As she narrated her anguish, the suspected perpetrator who pleaded not guilty and denied having sexual intercourse with the victim at any time, loudly yawned, interrupting her narration and showing signs of boredom.

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According to the victim, when they got to her friend’s place, the alleged perpetrator shouted at her that wherever he sees her he would cut off her head. “I was scared. He mumbled some other things and drove away. My pants were bloody. I was bleeding but he drove back, he came back…”

She said her aunts then took her home, from where later that morning she and a friend went to the police and then to the doctors. She told the court that a few months later, after hearing rumours about the perpetrator’s status, she went to the hospital to do a blood test – and was found to be HIV-positive.

“It (her testimony) brings back the past to me, it was hard. I am okay now. But at the beginning I could not take it.

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There was a time when I wanted to commit suicide. I got admitted at the Okahandja Hospital and was transferred to Windhoek because I was sick, I was suicidal.

“Back then I did not see him… most of the time I was fearful. I could not sleep. I relocated to Walvis Bay and came back a few years later, but in the past few years I started seeing him. He would just show up and we would say hi to each other but I was not comfortable because sometimes he shows up when I am alone.”

She said although she never received any apology from Jason, he at one point asked her for her number so that his mother could send her money to withdraw the case.

“I did not give him permission to sleep with me.

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I do not even know why he was doing it. We never argued before that incident. We grew up in the same area and he never proposed to me or anything.”

The case has been postponed to 13 February for the testimony of the doctor who attended to her.