Saturday, September 09, 2006

Boy dabbling with dagga, sentenced to gang rape

A FEW days later, Wimpie, a white boy who was dabbling with dagga, is put in our cell. I don’t know how old he really is, perhaps 16 or more, but he looks no older than 14, with skinny arms and short, spiky-crowned, brown hair.

The 28 gang give him a chocolate bar in the morning and it’s obvious what his eating of it preludes. Still, it is strange how even the minds of paedophilic rapists seem to demand some sort of mechanism by which they can excuse their crimes. They’ve given him a chocolate bar and they are going to enjoy having him repay the kindness.

It isn’t meant for Wimpie to be spending the evening in a cell full of libido-possessed 28s, but the warders took care of that. They know what to do to keep the prisoners happy.

The night it happens, I am in a cell with 80 men. What I am about to witness will make ridiculous the notion that someone can be safer in a crowd.

Three-quarters of the men do not want to be part of this, or they are excluded. The other 20, they know one another, and begin the sick game with the boy. He is cocky and tells them to leave him alone.

“What are you doing?”

He tries to fight, and so they hit him. His resistance stops abruptly when one grabs the back of his head and smashes his face into the steel bars ...

The boy has been in prison for weeks now, but this is his first moment of true captivity.

The 20 take it in turns to rape him. It goes on for more than eight hours, almost the whole night. The boy does everything he can, in his pathetic, limited range of action, to try to deter them, but he is ignored. He screams, he cries, he begs, he tries to bargain, he prays.

He is ignored ... Bück dich (Bend Over)

It is in the morning, though, that I am forced to see what life has coughed up before me. What’s left of Wimpie is lying in a corridor between the bunks, just in front of my bed. He is still naked, shivering in a pool of his own blood where they have discarded him. I will literally have to step over the small body to go and eat my breakfast. I am about to do just that, too, when I look him in the eyes.

All of the racist hate and hardness of my heart seems cheap. Is it important where a victim is born, where he went to school, whether or not his ethnicity gave him advantages denied others, or whether or not he is white or black?

In suffering, we are all the same.

How can I step over this cosmically battered body, and sit down to breakfast? How can anyone?

Right there, in that dismal space, with other men’s clothing strewn about on rusting beds, beside bars with psoriatic, peeling paint, I am alone with this boy’s pain.

I no longer know how I can continue to live. I have no more answers, and I am tired of all the old questions too.

The Gayton McKenzie Story Sunday times : Redemption

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