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Same nightmare… 13 years later

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By Kieran Legg

Cape Town - It is 13 years since Valencia Farmer was raped and murdered near her Eerste River home. Yet despite pledges by the police and politicians that they would put a stop to the high rape rate, Valencia’s mother Sylvia Farmer told the Cape Argus on Monday that nothing had changed.

“I still hear about the same things happening to other daughters. And every time it feels like it’s my daughter all over again,” she said.

For a few months after her daughter’s death she had been surrounded by politicians who said they would make things change. But they disappeared, leaving her alone with her grief. She warned the same thing would happen to Anene Booysen’s mother.

There are similarities between the attack on Valencia, 14, all those years ago, and that on Anene Booysen, 17, in Bredasdorp 10 days ago.

Both girls were able to name their attackers before they died, and both cases sparked widespread anger.

Valencia was found in the street, naked and bleeding from wounds all over her body.

She had been stabbed 53 times, 40 times in her back, after being raped by at least six men. Despite having her throat slit and being left for dead in a derelict house, she managed to crawl to the street where neighbours found her.

Furious residents demolished the house, claiming gang members used it as a meeting place.

On Monday, Farmer sat in the lounge of her Eerste River home - where she used to watch TV with Valencia - recounting the long, sad years after her child’s death. A large photo of Valencia hangs on the wall.

She remembered the day she found Valencia lying in the street outside her house.

“I held her, and I asked her: ‘Who did this to you? Was it so-and-so?’ And she nodded. She couldn’t speak but it felt like we were talking.”

A day before she died in hospital Valencia told the police who her rapists were.

In 2001 four men were charged, and three convicted and are serving consecutive life sentences.

But this wasn’t enough for Farmer. “They are still alive; their families can still visit them; they can still talk. All I have is a grave.”

 

Farmer said she was still living in the neighbourhood where her daughter had died and constantly look over her shoulder.

“Every person deserves the freedom to live. Here I’m scared for my children; I can’t let them walk in the street.”

Cape Argus

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