This sounded like a scene come out of some black American movie. I thought she was trying to get back at me. I did not even hear anything else my wife said because this was too unbelievable. Asthandile I think was still asking me why I slapped but it sounded like she was so far away. At this moment my own wife’s concerns were trivial to the fact that I was indeed in trouble. Yes people say that when you are married you are one person but the truth of the matter is that even in marriage there are times when you are selfish and think about only your needs. Right now I was definitely in trouble. I could lose not only my marriage depending on what she said but also my freedom. As a lawyer we tend to think rape cases are notoriously tricky in that unless there is a battering of the woman, the girl is underage or by some miracle there are witnesses its a very difficult case. Why? Because you can never truly if its a case of two people had sex then things got sour afterwards! However, and this is fact, once a man is accused of rape, guilty or not, the stigma and the stench of that accusation will make his name dirty or not regardless of whether the courts found him guilty or innocent. It’s the last you want to be accused of first as a lawyer and worse as a man!
My wife noticed I was not paying attention and started screaming. I guess she snapped. She threatened to go to the Eastern Cape with her parents but who was she kidding, she was going nowhere! Did I just say that? I was sorry I had slapped her but even if I bought her an plane to take it back I would not be able to take it back. It’s so easy to advise someone that in this scenario they need to apologize as though they are possessed because of how wrong but reality is couples handle strife differently. I stood up and walked to my wife and tried to hold. She started to hit me crying saying I don’t care for her nor friends because she had just told me of the rape and I said nothing. See what I meant? It was now about the friends not even us! I held her inspite her in spite of her trying to thrash around like a 5year old kid about to get immunized! I told her I hit her because of fear! With what had happened to Khanyi surely she should see what my fear was about because anything could had happened to her! I told her how she had chosen not to tell me where she was so I got so scared. I told her that I knew how I had handled was wrong but with all that fear plus the real stress her parents had caused it had just happened. I looked her in the eye and told her that she knew I was not this person. I was a good man, her man…guess what? It worked! She hugged me back and actually apologized. Wow! Is this what people mean by abuse?
Now I asked my wife which hospital Khanyi was. She said they had taken her to Tygervalley. She then said what I feared she would say,
“Baby I don’t think Khanyi must go to her place tonight or ever. She must sleep here until she finds a place!”
I won’t lie I had seen this one coming. My wife had this way of seeing the world. It was almost as though she wanted to save everyone and everything. I am not being mean or anything but didn’t Khanyi have her own relatives. Why did she have to come live with us? At this stage I wanted her as far away as possible from my wife and I as opposed to moving in. Really though why would she make up such a big lie. I wonder if she would be saying this if she knew I was the rape suspect. By this I mean my wife.
Why is it so easy to naturally assume that she had lied? A woman had just said she had been raped and all of us jumped to the conclusion that she had lied. Is this how much we value our women I wondered?
Asthandile asked that we go back to the hospital because she wanted to be next to her friend. How could I say no in such a situation? I had to agree. On the way there many scenes were playing in my head of what would happen in the next hour. My wife kept on telling me how life was so bad for women and I agreed. After slapping my wife I saw why I was part of the problem. We are almost in August, Womans Month and our firm goes and talks about domestic abuse to schools even churches. I was so ashamed but then again I could also be a “rapist” in a moment. I almost hit a barrier as I passed the Goodwood offramp, the one that goes Grand West. I was going to use the one by airport though. I think this was my lousy attempt at prolonging the trip. You can’t drive forever so eventually we got there.
There were two policeman with her so we did not go in immediately. Rather we waited outside. This was the telling moment. I am certain she had not seen us though. I was scared, I was sweating.
One of the cops recognized my wife, I think from earlier and he could come in. I just thought to myself at that moment why it had to be male cops with her because in a situation like this a sympathetic ear helps. Why would they honestly send two men to handle this? I was rather disappointed. My wife walked in immediately and went to hug her friend. I guess that’s how you handle the situation.
This however meant I had to enter too. As soon as I walked in Khanyi set up almost in jerk motion! Its as though I had startled her. She was so swollen it was as though someone tried to box her face out of existence. It was such a sad sight. She seemed so scared of me.
Then she did it,
She pointed that finger and said…
Everyone turned to look at me!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto
I am a 17 year old girl from the Eastern Cape and am pregnant. I was raped by my uncle and he is in jail now. The family said I should not abort and personally i would not have myself. I respect life. The problem is now at a very family event I am shunned as though I brought this on myself. I need help on what to do because I am not so isolated and scared.