Judges praised for ruling oral rape is as much a violation as other forms of rape

13 November 2019 - 16:35 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Oral rape carries the same weight as any other form of violation, says Women and Men Against Child Abuse. Stock image.
Oral rape carries the same weight as any other form of violation, says Women and Men Against Child Abuse. Stock image.
Image: 123rf.com/skycinema

Oral rape has as much of a psychological impact on the victim as vaginal penetration and should be treated like any form of sexual violation.

This is according to Women and Men Against Child Abuse's spokesperson, Ngaa Murombedzi, who was commenting on a Western Cape high court judgment which dismissed an appeal by a man who had raped his daughter.

The man, from Vredenburg, had pleaded guilty to two counts of rape. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017.

His daughter had moved in with him in 2008 after years of being shunted between her parents.

According to court papers, the man admitted to perpetrating acts of rape on the child for seven years, starting in 2008, by forcing her to perform oral sex on him.

It was argued on the man’s behalf during the sentencing appeal that the magistrate’s court had erred in finding that there no compelling and substantial circumstances justifying a deviation from the life imprisonment sentence.

“It was submitted that … the rapes were not accompanied by violence or threats of violence; the oral rape of the victim is not the most severe form of rape.

“In my view, none of the grounds relied upon have any merit. There is nothing in the record to indicate that the rapes were not accompanied by violence.

“Equally insidious and devastating to the victim are intentional grooming and emotional and psychological abuse. Simply because these do not manifest themselves in the form of physical injury does not mean that they are less severe or reprehensible,” said judge Judith Cloete.

WMACA commended the judges who presided over the matter, praising them for dismissing the appeal.

“There is no minimising rape. The law is clear that oral penetration, like digital penetration and vaginal penetration, is looked at in the same light in our legislation,” said Murombedzi.

“The psychological impact of any form of rape, coupled with the length of time over which the accused forced this child to perform sexual acts on him cannot be diminished and therefore the most appropriate sentence is one that reflects that lifelong psychological trauma that is a result of rape,” Murombedzi added.

The Teddy Bear Foundation's Shaheda Omar added: “Oral, anal or vaginal, it is a gross violation and it is rape. No amount of rationalising can take the pain, trauma, betrayal and trust issues away.

“The impact of this violation cannot be measured against the different forms of sexual violence.  This is not a justifiable reason to appeal a life imprisonment. It is a sexual violation against the victim's will, who has been dominated by a position of authority and power, who was helpless and defenceless,” she added.