A photographer is set to appear in court tomorrow in Wellington in the Western Cape for allegedly raping a young woman in Paarl.
The 19-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by a well-known photographer a year ago while on a photoshoot.
Since contacting and interviewing the young girl last year, Action Society has managed to track down the alleged rapist in Stellenbosch. Action Society Western Cape Action Centre coordinator Kaylynn Palm said the suspect fled to Ladismith and eventually tracked him down in Stellenbosch, where he started a new job in February. “Our team never stopped looking for him, and once we found him, we contacted the police who arrested him,” she said.
Palm spoke to the victim – who said she was relieved after she heard the news – shortly after the arrest. “I am so grateful to Action Society for assisting and finding the man who left me traumatised. Now that I know he is arrested, I feel a bit better. I now hope that justice will take its course,” she said.
She said she contacted the photographer for his services more than two years ago, and at the time, he told her that he doesn’t take pictures of underage girls. She had forgotten about the brief conversation – and when she was 19 years old, he contacted her, informing her about a modelling competition and that he would take the photographs.
“He told me about this competition, and I was excited and said it would cost me R300 for the pictures, and I was okay with that,” she said.
The young woman explained that on the day of the shoot, she drove with the man to where he would take the photographs. “Everything seemed normal on our way to the place where the pictures were to be taken,” she said. “He then parked in an isolated spot where cars were not passing. He gave me some tequila. Then, after some time, he forced himself on me and raped me,” she said.
She reported the incident at the police station; however, he was nowhere to be found.
Palm said that in the past year, sexual offences increased with more than 1 000 cases to 53 125, and over 10 000 rape cases were opened with the SAPS between July and September 2022. “These statistics are shocking – and crimes against women and children need to be taken seriously,” she said.