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Police and courts must share blame for woman's trauma

The Times Editorial | 2012-08-30 00:29:08.0

The Times Editorial: Tina Mbili, a daughter, a mother and a fellow South African, lies in an intensive care unit today fighting for her life. They say her condition is grave. Her crime, it seems, was to have been in love with the wrong man. A man who, after having a child with her, allegedly turned into a monster.

According to her family, Mbili was allegedly attacked and beaten to a pulp by her ex-boyfriend, who was out of jail on R5000 bail.

Besides the brutality, what is troubling about Mbili's case is that the court had granted her attacker bail despite her having a protection order and two pending domestic violence cases against him.

Having endured abuse from him before, she had approached the police and the courts for protection.

Yesterday, Mbili's sister Ross Harichand accused the police and the justice system of having failed her family.

Harichand said that in 2007 already she had laid a charge against her sister's ex-boyfriend.

Last month, Mbili was attacked again, in full view of several neighbours.

The police were called and they took statements, but failed to arrest anyone.

Harichand says the police claimed they couldn't find the man.

"Are they even looking for him?" she asked.

The family's anger is justified. They tried to use the legal processes of this country. They went to a police station and sought protection from our courts.

What did they get? Nothing.

Our legal system, including the police, should shoulder the blame for Mbili's trauma.

They apparently dragged their feet and failed to put her attacker behind bars. They failed to prevent her terror and suffering.

As we celebrate the last days of Women's Month, and after several speeches by those we elected to safeguard us, women in this country are still far from being safe.

We should take a stand against family members we know are abusers of those closest to them.

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