If you are a normal, sane human being, you would agree that we all think of rape as a horrendous act, which deserves the highest punishment. Only those who have had to endure it though, will be able to tell how far reaching the effects truly are. Rape is not something that you ever forget. You may, in time, forgive and move on. Sadly though, despite the healing, the memories will always remain.
It is for this reason that I can’t understand why the gravity of the act carries so little weight in sentencing. Generally speaking, rapists normally receive a 10 – 15 year sentence. Effectively that means that if a man rapes a 13-year old, he will be out by the time she is 23. He can start fresh and build a life. At 23 her life is only starting, but instead of carrying an innocent curiosity and fire for life, she carries with her emotional scars. Scars unseen to the naked eye, scars which will influence relationships.
The country held its breath today as sentencing of the Modimolle Monster was handed down. The courtroom packed to the brim with various ministers, advocates as well as a group of ANC Women’s League Members. Ina Bonette sat staring at her ex-husband, no doubt recalling the mutilation, rape, assault and murder of her son, despite his pleas.
Twitter went viral today after the sentence in the Modimolle Monster trial was handed down today. One Tweeter commented “It was with a great sense of relieve that we heard sense and sensibility prevail in a country which seemed to have gone mad where justice is concerned.”
In handing out the sentence, Judge Bam (my new favorite SA Judge) tore the defense apart in his ruling today, stating that Johan Kotze is an inherently evil person. He further stated that the co-accused expected payment for their part in the act and, despite their clear criminal record, it adds gravity to the case against them.
The judgement is as follows:
Johan Kotze – life for murder of Conrad Bonette, life for rape of Ina Bonette, 25 years for kidnapping and assault
All the co-accused – life sentences for their part.
After yesterday’s ruling Kotze did a brief interview stating “I have certain things he wish to say, things that will be said after sentencing tomorrow”. He further added that he does not want any sensation around this case as he is not a sensation seeker. After sentencing today, however, he clearly decided not to have his press conference. He hurried down to the cells as fast as he could.