For immediate Release: 17 October 2018
To: Editors, Producers and Reporters
Gender Commission appreciates outpouring of support for the rape survivor #Omotosotrial
The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has received and appreciate the numerous calls offering support to Cheryl Zondi, the rape survivor in the #Omotosotrial. Many of those who have called believe the defence lawyer Peter Daubermann’s line of questioning, is insensitive. This is precisely what the Commission has been raising particularly in rape cases wherein survivors suffer secondary victimisation due to the nature of the questions being raised. The CGE applauds Judge Mandela Makhaula for not allowing such kind of questioning as it was clearly secondary victimisation to Cheryl Zondi.
Although, the Commission for Gender Equality respects the independence of the Judiciary, gender blindness cannot be used as a source of inadvertent secondary victimisation. The Commission will continue to raise this pertinent question with the Magistrates Commission, Bar Council and the Judiciary as a whole on the unfairness that rape survivors go through whilst giving testimonies. It is plainly unfair to subject them to such inhumane treatment whereas those who did the act are treated favourably.
The line of argument by the defence was used to discredit the integrity of the victim; a victim who was a minor at the time of the alleged rape. There are several instances where women get raped because of what they wear, or due to their “loose” conduct and by default, the perpetrator would then argue that the woman asked to be raped. In any country that aspires to human rights ideals, it be would flawed to argue in court that any woman or girl deserves to be raped due to her conduct or what she wears in public. Human rights as a practiced discipline should guide our thinking about any form of inference that crosses the line when examining the truth told in a court of law.
The CGE has always argued that even if the intention is to seek justice by laying women bare in courts, the same justice seeking mechanisms should not allow prejudice and patriarchal nuances to find expression in the cause of seeking the truth. The Commission applauds the bravery shown by Cheryl Zondi.
“This will send a very clear message to other young women who are victims and survivors of sexual abuse. This young girl is determined to speak out about it and this does not happen often. The accused Timothy Omotoso is having a lot of support and however, she is speaking her mind without fear or favour. And she is determined to speak the truth. I hope the law protects this girl.” Says Lulama Nare, Chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality
The Commission for Gender Equality will continue to monitor this case in order to ensure that justice is served for Cheryl Zondi and other rape survivors who are still to testify.
Issued by: Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)
Date: 17 October 2018
Contact Person: Javu Baloyi
Tel: 083 579 3306
The Commission for Gender Equality is established in terms of Section 187 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in order to promote respect for gender equality and the protection, development and attainment of gender equality.
www.cge.org.za; Twitter handle @CGEINFO; Facebook Page @ Gender Commission of South Africa
Tags: #Omotosotrial, CGE, Cheryl Zondi, Rape Survivor