EC rape victims tell of their trauma

Victims of serial rapist Lonwabo Solontsi‚ 28‚ on Friday testified how the rapes destroyed their relationships‚ caused unwanted pregnancies‚ night terrors‚ depression‚ terrifying flashbacks and fear of people.

Solontsi was this week convicted in the Grahamstown High Court of 39 rape charges and a further 26‚ including robbery with aggravating circumstances‚ and housebreaking with intent to rob and rape. Dressed in a brown shirt‚ beige pants and a tweed jacket‚ Solontsi listened intently to his victims’ accounts of their horror rapes and took notes. They are testifying in aggravation of sentence.

A 45-year-old woman raped by Solontsi in a derelict house in Willowvale some six years ago says she still lives in fear. It has ruined her relationship with her husband‚ who she said blames her for the rape.

Wiping her eyes‚ she said she relives the rape whenever her husband wants to be intimate with her.

“When he gets intoxicated‚ he swears at me and reminds me what happened to me. He says he does not love me anymore because I was raped.”

Another woman‚ who was twice raped by Solontsi after he broke into her Fort Hare University residence room‚ said she fell pregnant as a result of the horror invasion of her room and her body.

She aborted the baby as she said she could “never love the child”.

Sobbing‚ she said her boyfriend blamed her for the rape and they had split up as a result. She had become introverted and distrustful of people‚ particularly men. She often relived the rape.

When Solontsi’s Legal Aid lawyer Helen McCallum indicated she had no questions for the witnesses‚ Solontsi twice interrupted her. He asked her to ask the former Fort Hare student why she thought her boyfriend blamed her for the rape.

“I don’t know‚” was the reply.

Senior state Advocate Nickie Turner is prosecuting. Judge Thami Beshe is presiding.

The trial continues.

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