Child Abuse Cape Town South Africa

The following article is based on a true-life experience; names and places have been changed. Sensitive readers might find the story traumatic.

Abduction 1996: August Cape Town Central business district.

Alicia, fourteen years old, on Thursday afternoon 8 August 1996:

ďI was walking with Arlene and Shelley on the Parade, after school. Four men we didn't know approached us. They appeared, as if from nowhere and grabbed all three of us. They shoved put us into a white BMW. We were screaming but were quickly silenced. They pulled our hair and pushed our heads down so that people couldnít see what they were doing. We were pushed down onto the floor in the back of the car. One of them drove the vehicle while the other three sat at the back holding us down, between their knees.

I was absolutely terrified. I couldnít move and when we screamed they pulled our hair and hit us. One of them told us he had a gun and would shoot us if we didnít stop screaming. I didnít know what they were going to do with us and I didnít know where we were going. At some point while we were driving, they tied our hands with rope and they blindfolded us.

When the car finally stopped and they told us to get out and follow them. It was difficult to get out of the car as we couldnít see and couldnít use our hands. They dragged us out of the car and told us to walk. One held me by the arm and pulled me. They took all three of us to a room and took the blindfolds off and untied our hands and then they left and locked us into the room.

We stayed in the room locked until what we thought was the next day. We talked amongst ourselves and didnít know what was going on or what was going to happen to us. Then the following day all four men came into the room. Two of them took Arlene and Shelley out of the room. One of them stood at the door and the other one stood in the room, near the bed where I was shouting that they should let us go. The one who was standing near the bed slapped me and punched me in my face. Then one of the others came back. They locked the door and the three of them came towards me. All three of them attacked me and threw me on the bed. They tore my clothes off and I was screaming and screaming and I swore at them and I also scratched one of them. Then the one who drove the car, Zunaid hit me very hard against the side of my head and he got the other two to hold me down and I was lying on my back. The guy who was standing at the bottom of the bed pulled my legs apart and then Zunaid raped me. He stayed on top of me for I donít know how long, it felt like it would never stop. The other two were there in the room and by then I didnít scream or shout or even try to hit them because it was hurting a lot it felt like it was burning inside me. I just closed my eyes and wanted it to go away.

When he was done he got up and Eugene came and got on top of me. He also raped me. After this Roland came and raped me. And then I started screaming. Zunaid became violent again and choked me. I canít remember for how long Roland raped me. I lost consciousness and when I came to again the other one, Jonathan was on top of me. Zunaid also hit me with a broomstick all over my body.

After all four of them had raped me they left the room with my clothes and the sheet that I had been lying on. There was blood on the sheet and I was still bleeding after they left. I think they kept me in the room for four days. I will never really be sure how long it was. I only saw the four of them and only one at a time after the day they raped me. They either came into the room to rape me again or to give me food. I didnít think I would ever see my family again. I thought they were just going to keep me there and rape me till I die. I felt completely alone and scared. I spent most of the time when I was alone thinking about how to get away, or about what they had done to me or about what they were still going to do to me.

I banged on the door a few times and called to Arlene and Shelley to help me if they could hear me. I didnít know if they were still in the house. At that point I didnít even know the names of the men who had raped me. I heard other people, some of them girls in the house, but I didnít see any of them until they let me out. After the four days two of them Jonathan and Eugene came and unlocked the door and brought my clothes and told me to go and wash and get dressed. I was very disoriented and found it difficult to walk. They showed me where the bathroom was and I lost my balance twice. I used the wall to keep myself from falling.

Everyone was locked up, in that house. There were eleven other girls there besides the three of us. Shelley and Arlene had also been raped and beaten. They had been kept with the other girls and they were raped in the lounge and in the other room. They told me that they had been raped in front of some of the girls and that everybody stood or sat and watched. The other girls were all prostitutes and the man of the house Zunaid wanted us to be prostitutes also. He had already gotten Arlene to go out with the other girls. Arlene didnít want to talk about it and I didnít feel that I could talk to her. She seemed like someone I didnít know. Shelley and I stayed at home at night when they went out on the street. They brought the men home and robbed them and one night there was a fight because the one man found out that the girls were stealing money from him and he demanded his money back and Zunaid and the young boy who was there, Sammy, beat the man and threw him out of the house.

They still raped me but not as often and they forced us to drink alcohol and to smoke dagga, which really made me feel (unclear). I thought I could get used to it.

One night, two of the girls Sylvia and Charlene stayed behind and talked to us about going out with them. They said that it was really easy the men just stop and you go to the car and you tell them itís R80 and then you bring them back to the house and the boys will follow you in the car. When you get to the house one of the girls will be waiting in the room, under the bed and you get the client to undress, and then the girl will take his money from his pants and you donít have sex with him. You just push his penis between his legs and it hurts and he wonít be able to do anything and if he tries to hurt you or fight with you then the boys will be there to deal with him.

After another few days I went out with them, every night. And one day I managed to escape. (Long silence). I donít want to talk anymore.

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