Action Society is demanding the two men who allegedly raped and sexually assaulted 19 women at a Khayelitsha church on Easter Sunday do not receive bail.
The churchgoers were forced to strip naked and perform sexual acts on the men at the Showers of Blessings Church in Taiwan in Site C on 9 April 2023. The assailants robbed congregants of cellphones and money and sexually assaulted the women – holding guns to their heads. The men forced their way into the church during loadshedding. The women were sleeping in the church to prepare for the church service that morning.
Action Society attended both court appearances this week in the Khayelitsha Magistrates Court. On 23 May, the men appeared in court for a formal bail application; however, it was postponed due to loadshedding.
The matter was back in court on 25 May, where the investigating officer took the stand. Thus far, there has been a petition from the community calling for no bail – and the state has also indicated that they are pushing for no bail for the alleged perpetrators.
The men have been accused of raping three women and sexually assaulting eight women and are being charged with housebreaking with aggravating circumstances. According to the investigating officer, the victims are between 11 and 55.
Action Society’s Kaylynn Palm said the women were emotional during court proceedings on Thursday – as they had to see the suspects and relive what had been done to them that Easter Sunday.
“Some of the women sat with tears rolling down their faces. Two of the women’s hands were shaking as they feared that they would be granted bail. It was extremely sad to hear how these men assaulted and humiliated these women. First, they were assaulted physically, then told to strip naked and still forced to do sexual acts on these men. It is disgusting,” she said.
Palm added that Action Society demands that these men not be granted bail. “These men should not be allowed back into society. They traumatised these women. These were children, mothers and grandmothers who had to witness and endure horrible acts against them in their place of worship,” said Palm.
The matter has been postponed to 29 May 2023, when the bail application process continues. Action Society will continue to support the women and the community of Khayelitsha.
To support Action Society’s Action Centre to continue helping victims of gender-based violence, follow this link.