The rapes left the teenager so psychologically traumatised that she can never reach her developmental potential; in fact, she has the psyche of a toddler, a court was told.
The rapes, in the tiny village of Bathurst between Port Alfred and Grahamstown, were described in the trial of the most recent man to rape her, Mncedisi Dyantyi, aged 23. He was sentenced last week to life imprisonment by the Grahamstown High court.
Clinical psychologist Karen Andrews told how she assessed the girl after each of the rapes. When she saw her after the first rape, she said, the child’s symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder were just beginning to subside.
But then she was raped for the second time. That “overwhelmed” her “on all psychological levels”. Her chances of reaching her full developmental potential in “all important areas of functioning” within the range of her mental retardation were “significantly reduced”.
But then she was raped for a third time – in September last year – and it scotched any chance of further development. She said the child had now regressed to the point of having “the psyche of a toddler”, wholly dependent on her mother. Andrews said the child could now only deal with her distress in the presence of her mother.
She warned that when her mother dies the child would be completely unable to cope as she would be rendered “distraught and chaotic; she will become completely dysfunctional; and she will be vulnerable to psychotic disintegration”. The child’s trusting nature and her mental retardation made the three rapes even more horrific.
Andrews said the child was “particularly vulnerable” because she was “not capable of planning, she cannot anticipate and has no capacity for forethought”. She was unable to appreciate danger until it was too late. “She is placid and naive, expects people to be kind to her and does not have the capacity to realise that people do not always have good intentions.”
Andrews said a regime of psychotherapy would serve no purpose and would be a “waste of time” as the child’s development had been completely arrested after the third rape. The focus of any plan to assist her should ensure her security – so that she is not raped again, she added. Bathurst resident Mlandeli Mvandaba, 44, first raped and sodomised the child in 2006. Judge Andre Erasmus described his actions as “bestial and heinous” and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. The next man was Lunga Tata, 18.
Just a week after he raped her, Tata raped and murdered another 10- year-old.
He was also sentenced to life imprisonment. Then Dyantyi raped her. Judge Clive Plasket said the courts were prepared to impose stern sentences on those who “prey on the vulnerable and weak, whether the victims be children, women, old people or, as in this case, a young girl who is mentally-retarded and thus rendered particularly vulnerable”.
“A caring society, as ours is supposed to be, has a substantial interest in safeguarding the vulnerable and in seeing to it that predatory thugs like (Dyantyi) receive little sympathy in circumstances such as the present.”