Just as what is being called the country’s oldest sexual assault case was meant to go ahead, the defence’s legal representatives submitted a doctor’s note which stipulate that the accused was too ill to make a court appearance yesterday.
Sisters Lisa van der Merwe and Claudine Shiels have come forward to report two cases of indecent assault, after the incidents reportedly took place in the 70s. The two sisters said they had barricaded themselves in their bedroom using furniture, and were so afraid to leave their room that they urinated on a folded towel.
The home of their father and stepmother was what the sisters described as a “party house” growing up, and their parents’ friends would regularly dance and drink the night away before passing out on the couches of the Zeekoevlei home. While the adults were all in their stupours, two of their parents’ friends would steal into the girls’ bedroom and sexually assault them.
“One of the accused could not be there because he has heart problems and he had to go into hospital for an angiogram,” lawyer for the defence Leon van der Merwe told IOL.
“The sexual abuse derailed me and set my life on a totally different track to my own choices and my own character,” Sheils said. “Sadly, throughout the decades, as my sister and I have attempted to speak about our experiences at the hands of our abusers, the crimes have either been fobbed off as nothing, laughed off, or we have been warned to keep quiet or risk being labelled troublemakers.”
The sisters wanted to go ahead with the trail to expose their abusers, and give a voice to those in similar situations but now they will have to wait even longer for their their voices to be heard.