The woman dubbed #LionMama‚ who no longer faces criminal charges for stabbing to death her daughter’s alleged rapist‚ must overcome a new hurdle: fear of retribution.
There was a sense of euphoria after murder and attempted murder charges were withdrawn on Monday at the Lady Frere magistrate’s court.
But now the Eastern Cape woman‚ who cannot be named to protect the identity of her daughter‚ and her daughter fear for their safety.
Buhle Tonise‚ the mother’s legal representative‚ said on Thursday that the two women‚ who had been through a traumatic month‚ were worried that relatives of the dead man or members of the community would seek retribution.
“The last time there was a funeral‚ they were burying the one who had passed away. The mother and daughter felt like they wanted to get away but they couldn’t financially. Police officers gave assistance and assured the mother that they would patrol the area‚” said Tonise.
They were worried that relatives angry about the attacker’s death would harm them after the funeral. There is tension in the area over the way he died. A young woman who raised the alarm‚ telling the mother that three men were busy raping her daughter‚ is being blamed for the man’s death by his relatives‚ said Tonise.
“The one that went to call the mother‚ she is also a witness in the case. The family had told her that she was the cause of him dying. They told her if she hadn’t reported the rape he would still be alive today. The family is still angry‚ they don’t have support because (others in the community) believe that what the mother did was correct‚” she said.
“The father of the deceased also said that he would prefer that his son be punished by the courts and not be killed‚” she added.
And the 27-year-old victim of the alleged rape had been tormented by guilt‚ fearing that her mother would be jailed for protecting her‚ said Tonise.
“The daughter wasn’t coping because she was blaming herself. In her mind the mother was going to jail because of her. Initially she wasn’t able to walk properly. She had just lost all purpose to be okay and that had a direct impact on the mother.
“The mother was so excited on Monday when the charges were dropped‚ but seeing her daughter get better on Tuesday was the one thing that made her realise that there will be hope‚” Tonise said.
Security at the woman’s home will be improved‚ thanks to a crowdfunding page set up by Natalie Kendrick after she read about the mother being arrested.
“It was a horrible situation to have been in for the mother and daughter and I thought that there would be no good outcome of this. The mother needed help and so did her daughter. I shared the link to the crowdfunding page on social media and it was shared from there‚” said Kendrick.
Kendrick said that the mother made it clear from the onset that she wanted the funds to be used to build a fence around her home. “The mother is worried about her security. The brothers of the deceased are very angry. She … doesn’t feel safe when she goes to bed at night‚” said Kendrick.
The crowdfunding page had‚ by Thursday‚ raised more than R131 000. Two men also accused of raping the daughter were due to appear in court on Thursday.