Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dutch Tourist's Rape Ordeal in Cape Winelands Hotel

Tourist tells of rape ordeal

Dutch woman on antiretrovirals after horrifying ordeal in four-star hotel

Apr 25, 2010 12:00 AM | By BUYEKEZWA MAKWABE

A Dutch tourist has vowed never to set foot in South Africa again - unless it is to give evidence against the man who gagged, robbed and raped her twice in the Cape Winelands.

Mrs. Den Hollander
Mrs. Den Hollander
quote The hotel said she was negligent with her own safety by not properly locking her room door quote

Yvonne Petronella Den Hollander, 62, is suing the four-star Lord Charles Hotel for failing to keep her safe and is claiming R1.7-million in damages for the terrifying ordeal she endured.

Den Hollander, a divorced mother of two, was brutalised within hours of checking into the luxury hotel. She was put on antiretrovirals after the attack, and underwent psychological counselling for trauma.

Two years after she was raped and robbed of R3600 at the hotel on March 9 2008:

  • Police have yet to arrest a suspect in the case;
  • The hotel says it is not liable to pay damages because guests signed a disclaimer protecting it against claims for loss, damage or injury; and
  • Den Hollander is being asked to put up R200000 as security for court costs before her lawsuit can proceed against the hotel, because she is a foreigner.

The high cost could derail her case.

In court papers, she accused the hotel of negligence and failure to put in place measures that could have prevented her ordeal.

Speaking to the Sunday Times this week through her lawyer, Luuk Rijnen, she said she would never again set foot in Africa, except to face her attacker in court.

The trip to South Africa was a dream come true after she had saved up to pay for an affordable 17-day holiday package which included a trek in the Drakensberg mountains, a visit to Swaziland, a trip to the Kruger National Park and KwaZulu-Natal.

It was shortly after arriving at the Lord Charles Hotel, ahead of a tour of the Cape Winelands, that the trip turned into a nightmare.

In the statement to the police after the incident, she said she was convinced she would be killed by the rapist.

"He made me lie on the bed with my face down. He took the telephone wire. With this he tied my ankles. I was lying on my belly with my hands and feet tightly tied to my back.

"I remember that he made this quite tight. After this he put blankets and pillows over me, so I was afraid now he would shoot me because of all this noise-insulating material."

Her assailant had been hiding behind the bathroom door when Den Hollander returned to her room after a few drinks with her tour group.

The hotel, however, is defending the claim and in turn said Den Hollander was negligent with her own safety by not properly locking her room door despite written warnings.

The hotel said it had taken "reasonable steps to guard against harm to guests by among other things, engaging the services of an independent contractor".

Group chief executive officer for Command Security Services, Shaffie Mowzer, said on Friday that what had happened was both unfortunate and tragic but the company could not comment.

"The case was investigated by the police and there was never any finger pointed at the company or at the work we do."

The hotel further stated in court papers that Den Hollander had, upon arrival at the hotel, signed a disclaimer absolving it of any liability. It read: "The Lord Charles accepts no responsibility for any loss, damage or injury that may occur on our premises."

The hotel has applied to the court to compel her to pay R200000 in security for costs.

Rijnen said Den Hollander broke down when he told her about the R200000 security required.

But Den Hollander has vowed to fight on.

"She says it was only after realising that, if she stopped now without fighting back, she would feel raped twice.

"She has now pulled herself together and says she refuses to be bullied," Rijnen said.

Den Hollander told the Sunday Times via e-mail: "Did they change anything? Or do they just try to push me away so no one finds out how unsafe it is?"

Western Cape police spokesman, Warrant Officer November Filander, was unable to comment on the police investigation on Friday.

10 Opinion(s):

Exzanian said...

Tourists are not even safe in a four star hotel. Best stay home and watch the world cup in the comfort of your armchair...Seriously, you will not enjoy yourself walking on SA soil, there will always be that fear lurking.

Lime Lite said...

I know an Australian reporter who will be travelling to SA for the SWC. He estimates that at least one international journalist will die during the tournament. That's what the journalists are talking about!

Anonymous said...

The solution to this is rigorous law enforcement including the death penalty.


Lime Lite said...

@Anon - as much as I'm pro the death penalty, I can't see it working in the current SA. Can you honestly trust the current justice system to fairly implement the death penalty? Can you imagine that tool in Zuma/Malema's hands??

Anonymous said...

Lime Lite, you are correct but as a cold matter of fact, this is what is necessary to stop this sort of assault.


Anonymous said...

With such a low conviction rate the death penalty will not yield much results, although it will clean out our much needed prison space!

Anonymous said...

I just wonder if she may have been part of the anti-apartheid bunch from Europe. The Dutch were one the forefront if these Anti-aparheid protests.

Perhaps fair justice in the end?

Anonymous said...

If this lady was raped by a man already in her room then there is a serious failure with basic security in this hotel and arrangements to protect a single woman.
All hotels with this kind of ranking have self locking doors and the only way to gain entry is with a unique/electronic key card or a master key/card. Hotel keys/electronic key cards in Europe are security keys/cards and cannot be cloned except through the company that makes them. i.e. an ordinary law abiding locksmith will not clone them.
In Europe there are special security procedures in place relevant to single woman to reduce the risk of this happening.
By European standards the management of this hotel has failed to provide basic security for the customers as the rapist must have gained access to the room via a master key/card. The most likely source was failure to follow proper security procedures by housekeeping staff and a master key/card has fallen into the wrong hands. Not all that improbable in the RSA.
No disclaimer is going to help because they failed to implement basic security that a member of public would expect under normal circumstances. i.e. the info indicates that he was there without permission.

Anonymous said...

We are going to see an endless series of cases like this. Partly, it is because the western MSM persists in projecting the fantasy of international brotherhood that fosters this entirely misplaced sense of trust in gullible and well-meaning people.

The real source of our difficulties is that our own western governments, using the propagandist levers of power at their disposal, have essentially declared war on us, their own people. One way to fight back is to expose the consequences of this; the fate of this woman is an example and it needs to be widely publicised.

Sooner or later reality will break through. It always does.


Trey Cruz said...

I don't mean to be cruel, but for a white woman to compain of being raped in South Africa is comparable to a visitor to London bitching about being caught in a rainstorm.