In 2015, Anna* was raped by a local taxi driver, Jakes*, who’d offered her a lift home. After dropping off the other passengers, he took her to a deserted area in Diepsloot despite her protests. When she refused to have sex with him, he began to beat her severely and threatened to kill her. She tried to escape, but he chased her down and raped her at knifepoint. Although Anna immediately opened a criminal case, Jakes was not arrested for two years. As a result, Anna had very little faith in the criminal justice system but persevered nonetheless.
After Jakes was finally arrested in 2017, Anna was referred to LvA for support. During her initial consultation with LvA’s senior staff attorney, Rethabile, Anna was extremely emotional and unable to speak about what happened. Before any legal support could take place, Anna was referred to an LvA therapist, Noluthando, who was able to help Anna work through the trauma she had endured, learn the skills necessary to manage her emotions, and address her fears of testifying at court. Over the next seven months, Rethabile provided Anna with ongoing support in her criminal case, including regular engagement with the investigating officer and the prosecutor. Over time, Anna grew increasingly confident and indicated that she was ready to face the man who raped her in court without feeling intimidated. Over the course of two days, Anna bravely told her story to the Magistrate. In January 2018, more than 3 years later, Jakes was convicted of rape, kidnapping, and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
In a country where only 8.6% of reported rape cases result in a conviction, this outcome is truly a testament to Anna’s strength and determination in her pursuit of justice in the midst of a broken justice system. Upon reflection, Anna noted “I could not have done without LvA’s support and just wish that there were more LvA’s for women who are afraid to come forward.” Thankfully, with LvA’s integrated legal and psychosocial support, Anna did not have to walk this road alone.
*Names have been changed to protect client’s identity.