Kim Speaks Out

Kim Speaks Out–rape, traumatic experiences in court and a new start to life

KIM was admitted to Ons Plek Projects on 23/01/07.

Kim is a rape survivor. Her father repeatedly raped her over a two-year period. She only recently had the courage to break the silence whereupon she was referred to Ons Plek. She also endured physical abuse by her father and her relatives, who witnessed the beatings, were unable to protect her.

Kim was born in A… in Congo. She was reared by her father and stepmother in Congo. She has never met her biological mother and does not know her maternal relatives. She once met a man on a train station in Cape Town, he saw her school name tag and he allegedly told her that she is the daughter of G…, who is still living in Congo. She only had this one encounter with this man.

After Kim laid criminal charges against her father, her stepmother and other paternal relatives were intimidating and threatening her. She only has the support of two cousins.

Experience has taught us that criminal court cases can be postponed several times and often take years for a verdict. In the past few months, Kim had four appointments at the Sexual Offences Court. She saw her father and stepmother at court (she has not seen them since she ran away from home) and she exchanged an emotional embrace with her younger stepsister.

Initially the case was postponed because the interpreter (who was warned to attend) was not present. Kim has been strong, even though she was writing her final school exams.

Witnesses have a “special, secure” waiting room. One has to pass security guards and a security gate to enter the waiting room, but on two occasions security allowed relatives to pass. These relatives were there to support her father and “intimidate” Kim.

On the last court date, the interpreter who speaks the father’s mother tongue arrived but daddy suddenly claimed to have a different mother tongue and the case has yet been postponed again. This happened twice. This was too much for Kim and she finally broke down.

She turned eighteen recently and her only wish was to find her biological mother. A cousin gave us a telephone number to enquire about relatives in Congo. After making three calls, we found her maternal aunt and were told to call the following day. Kim spoke to her mother for the very first time and was told that her birth name is Pretty. News spread fast in Congo, when we called for the mother, Kim spoke to three siblings, aunts and uncles. They were all waiting for her call!

Subsequently, Kim successfully completed a three-month Youth Leadership Development and Skills Training Program at Chrysallis Academy, where she obtained Certificates of Competency in Introduction to Tourism; Emergency Medical Training First Aid Level 1 and Red Watch Fire Fighting Basic Training.

She returned to Siviwe and was warmly welcomed by all the girls and staff members.

Update June 2013:Kim is now a mother of a 3 year old.She supports herself and daughter and attends our Xmas party every year with her.

(citation, by de Vos, C. Social Worker)

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