It is clear that this case has rocked the Bonteheuwel deaf community and they came out in their droves to support the victim. Members of The Deaf Community of Cape Town stood outside the Bishop Lavis Court with placards reading ‘Deaf Have Rights Too’, ‘Don’t Scrap Deaf Cases’, ‘Don’t Mock Deaf and Sign Language’ along with many more.
“I’m angry, yes! Because these men took advantage of her because she’s deaf, just like me. They think we are easy targets and that we don’t have rights, but they will soon see how wrong they are,” a deaf supporter said via a sign language interpreter.
Lily*, aged 45, was gang-raped by a group of men in December last year in a nightmarish ordeal that has deeply scarred her and her family. The family has been waiting for a sign language interpreter since the case was first picked up. With an interpreter in court, Lily will finally be able to tell the court her version of the events.
Action Society has been supporting Lily and her family since August, and finally made a major breakthrough in getting a sign language interpreter as the Department of Justice promised one will be present in her next appearance. The four accused men will appear in the Bishop Lavis Court on September 11. So far, three have been released on bail and the other is in police custody.
From there, the matter will be moved to the Parow Regional Court on October 12, where Lily’s case will be taken further and allow her an opportunity to make her version of events known with the help of an interpreter.
“Her only fear is that these guys are going to get away with it, and that nobody is going to believe her when she can finally tell her story. It has been so frustrating for us to come to the courts over and over again only for there to be no interpreter,” said family spokesperson, Antonette Meyer.