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‘I should have protected her’

Written by on June 3, 2024

. . . aunt of girl who was allegedly raped by two uncles speaks out

“One morning, I realised she didn’t go to school. Only then did I notice she was walking differently, and when I asked her, she said she stepped on a thorn.”

These are the words of the aunt of the teenager (14) who was allegedly raped by her two uncles at Etunda village in the Ruacana constituency last month.

Anna*(56) says she is struggling to come to terms with what happened, wishing she had protected her niece against her uncles.

Omusati regional commander commissioner Ismael Basson has confirmed the incident, saying one of the suspects, who was arrested on 14 May, has appeared in court.

The second suspect is still at large.

Basson says the suspects threatened to kill *Mona should she report the incident to her parents or the police.

Anna says her home is not far from where Mona, her mother and one uncle live.

Anna describes the relationship between Mona and her uncles as good.

However, when Mona told her she stepped on a thorn, Anna was not convinced.

“So I insisted she tell me the truth. That’s when she told me,” she says.

Mona then told Anna her uncles raped her on 6 May, Anna says.

She says it’s heartbreaking that they could do such a cruel thing.

“I didn’t expect it to happen, since we are family,” she says.

“I couldn’t remain silent about such a matter. I immediately reported it to the police, and it is unfortunate that the uncle who is still at large had left the village when the arrest was made,” she says, adding: “I should have protected her.”

Anna is urging families with the same predicament to speak up and expose perpetrators – even though they may be relatives or breadwinners.

“My whole family supported me when I reported the incident,” she says.


Anna’s mother, *Eva (79), says she has been distraught since she learnt of the incident, which took place while she was hospitalised at Oshakati Intermediate Hospital.

“I told her to sleep in my bedroom while I was gone, and she usually cooks for everyone at home. They allegedly sneaked into the room . . ,” she says.

Eva says her brother, who is a pensioner, was at home at the time of the incident, but did not hear “the commotion”.

“She was just behaving as usual, and I couldn’t tell that she wasn’t fine or that something might have happened to her,” Mona’s grandmother says.

“She has been quiet,” she says.

Windhoek-based social worker Lovisa Nghipandulwa says rape is traumatic for all victims, regardless of their age.

It affects victims physically, psychologically and emotionally, she says.

“In this case, this teenager will be more traumatised since there were two perpetrators involved, and because one suspect has not been arrested yet,” she says.

Ngipandulwa says death threats cause fear and anxiety in the victim, and she could also be blaming herself for the incident, although rape is not the victim’s fault.

The incident can affect her outlook on life and relationships with men.

“It will take a lot of effort and counselling for her to learn to trust again,” Ngipandulwa says.

Poor sleeping patterns and nightmares, eating habits and school performance will also be affected, she says.

“The family needs to be supported by professionals to give the victim appropriate support,” she says.
*Not their real names.

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