“I do not have any recollection of how the incident happened. I cannot remember any part of it. I remember some details about what happened before the incident but I have no idea how I got to look like this,”
A FAMILY in Santa Square has accused the justice system of failing them after a family member was so badly assaulted that she sustained memory loss.
According to the family, neither the police nor the courts want to take action against the alleged attacker.
The 33-year-old woman, Priscilla Kaats, suffered memory loss after a severe assault that took place on Tuesday afternoon.
Kaats was apparently viciously assaulted by a 19-year-old at a shebeen.
According to Kaats she recalls nothing about the attack and only remembers waking up in hospital later that night.
“I do not have any recollection of how the incident happened. I cannot remember any part of it. I remember some details about what happened before the incident but I have no idea how I got to look like this,” said Kaats, whose head has been bandaged.
She stated further that she cannot walk because she gets dizzy. “I just have to lie down as I cannot stand up or walk because the room feels like it is spinning.”
Kaats lives with her children, her boyfriend and his mother, along with other family members.
Her family said they cannot believe that they were prevented from taking any action against her attacker because Kaats cannot remember what happened.
Her boyfriend’s mother, Ester Koopman, said she rushed to Kaats’ aid when she was informed that she had been badly beaten and was lying in the street.
“Some young children came running to the house and told me to go look as Priscilla was lying half dead in the street. I ran to the scene and saw her lying there. It was just starting to rain at the time. I saw her face was badly swollen and she had purple and blue bruises on her face. She looked terrible and I could not believe that anyone could do that to her. We called the police and an ambulance and waited. I asked people in the street what had happened and some told me that she was assaulted by a 19-year-old man,” said Koopman.
She added that she had to take Kaats home after the ambulance and police did not arrive.
“We waited for more than an hour. I realised that neither the ambulance nor the police were coming. I asked one of the young men in that street to assist me in getting Priscilla home. He then put her inside a shopping trolley and pushed her home. Priscilla seemed unconscious at the time and totally unaware of her surroundings.”
Koopman said that her son, Kaats’ boyfriend, took her to the hospital later that night.
“At about 8pm we managed to get private transport to take Priscilla to the Galeshewe Day Hospital. She was admitted that night but discharged the next day.”
Kaats’ boyfriend, Roland Abrahams, said that Kaats received stitches to her head.
“They stitched her head and at that time she was still very disoriented. I went to fetch her the next day after she was discharged. She could not walk properly and when I asked her what had happened she told me that she could not remember,” he said.
Abrahams said that he did his own investigation and was informed who the alleged perpetrator was.
“I was told that a 19-year-old man was responsible for the assault. One woman told me that the perpetrator apparently said he was in the mood to kill someone and kicked Priscilla in the face, after which he assaulted her by beating and kicking her. I went to the perpetrator and he did not deny the incident,” he said.
The family said they were told that the matter cannot be prosecuted as there were no witnesses to make statements on record.
“It now appears that this matter is going to die silently as people who witnessed the incident do not want to say anything. People are talking amongst themselves but they do not want to go to the police and make formal statements.
“The perpetrator has also never been arrested or questioned by the police. He is currently free and might never pay for his actions. This is very sad as we now have to sit with the results of his actions. He almost beat Priscilla to death and nothing is being done about it. We could have been arranging her funeral today while the person responsible is walking free.”
The Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson in Sector 8, Anna Bogacwe, said she was very disappointed in the justice system.
“How can an incident like this just be swept under the carpet. We preach about keeping women and children safe yet there is no justice for the victims of violence. Women are encouraged to report matters to the police in order to get justice, yet the same system lets them down at the end of the day. People are killed and the perpetrators continue to roam free because there are no witnesses who can come forward with information. It is heartbreaking,” said Bogacwe.
She urged community members to take control of their streets.
“I understand that witnesses might be scared of coming forward with information as they are also threatened, however, we need to stand up for each other. We need to protect each other and speak out against such incidents. One never knows when such incidents might hit home. We cannot just sit back and watch rebels run our streets. We need to take action.”
Bogacwe said that perpetrators are currently enjoying more freedom than their victims.
“Our justice system is very unfair, as those who are in the wrong enjoy more protection than the victims. We are told to not hit our children as it is against the law. It is our children who then become a danger to society. We need to relook at things as everything is just going downhill. We are not safe anywhere, not even in our own homes and from our own young children,” she said.
Galeshewe police spokesperson Captain Bashaobile Kale confirmed that a case had been opened and would be investigated.
“The police do not arrest alleged perpetrators to investigate cases but the outcome of an investigation might lead to an arrest of an accused person. At this stage no one has been arrested and the investigation continues,” said Kale.