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Life scarred irrevocably
Gang rape destroyed young woman's life
Gang rape destroyed young woman's life

A Thabong man has been sentenced to life in prison, and an additional five years for assault, after a young woman was brutally, savagely and repeatedly gang raped by six men in 2015.

The 25-year-old was subjected to extreme forms of sexual depravity and humiliation by her attackers.

She was tortured and toyed with.

All six men took turns to rape her, sometimes simultaneously. She was severely beaten and assaulted.

When she tried to resist being raped for the umpteenth time, the accused took a knife and cut her.

Whilst bleeding from her wounds he raped her again while the others continued to kick her head, until she passed out.

In sentencing Rethabile Malo­behloa (27), Magistrate Bassie Mhlatsi said that the accused has embarrassed his wife, his children and all men with his actions that day.

The state advocate, Elma van Niekerk, who throughout passionately argued the case, said at sentencing that life imprisonment was not enough to alleviate the rapist’s debt to society, the complainant or the community.

“During the testimony of the complainant court personnel were traumatised and crying, and at one stage the interpreter informed the court that the accused was smiling at the complainant throughout her testimony. She could not stand it anymore, and then he was reprimanded,” says Charmaine Labuschagne, regional court control prosecutor for Sexual Offences and Related Matters, Welkom.

A victim impact statement was prepared by Rosy Dube, who went to great lengths to obtain the information from the victim.

In her statement the victim wrote: “The accused is the one I remembered the best – even his smell. He took the most of me.”

She said her life has changed a lot. She is always awakened by the thought of what is going to happen to her and if she is going to live through that day.

She would always think of herself as a beautiful and happy person. Now she does not want to overdo her personal look.

She cannot be in crowds and she panics if someone is behind her.

“I honestly feel like I am no longer the girl I used to be. I am scared of commitment. I always think the worst of men.”

“The magistrate made a remark after the case was finished, that this case has made him realise what it really means to be the magistrate in the Dedicated Sexual Offences Court,” says Labuschagne.

He sentenced the accused to life imprisonment for the rape and five years for the assault, not to run concurrently.

One other accused was linked to the case with DNA found on an item of clothing he had left at the scene, and he pleaded guilty in 2015.

Malobhloa had avoided being arrested for the next three years, but was arrested in 2018.

As far as the other suspects are concerned, no DNA evidence could be linked to anyone conclusively.

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