Hi,My wife who is in Cape Town was recen...

Asked by Al Al on 03-11-2016 03:26:16
Question posted in the Family Law category relating to Western Cape

Hi,My wife who is in Cape Town was recently sexually assaulted by her ex husband the other day. He had an existing interdict against him and an aggravated assault charge which she let drop out of a desire to "move on" but I think it was mainly out of fear of community backlash. She is an indian Muslim and has next to no rights in the community.

We tried to move on from it. However this second tragedy has broken her resolve and has shaken me to my core. She doesn't want to push the sexual assault charge. She feels like they will make her look like a "slut" and she will never get full custody of her children. I live in Australia and I have been waiting for a long time to get her over here. She fears for her children and won't leave them.

She says she had told her ex that she wasn't married anymore because every time she said we were married he would get even more erratic. I supported her decision at the time because I also just wanted to move on. He was there on our wedding day making a commotion and he even was close to grabbing her while I was standing right there!

So I completely understood why she would lie to calm him. Now she is afraid this will be used to tear her apart during questioning and she is so dispirited and I am horrified that she might let him get away and have another chance to assault her. It is hard enough for me as a man to know someone else has had his way with your wife and I was completely helpless to do anything about it! I am in Australia earning a living for my family and I just am nowhere near enough to even protect her!

Please we do not have money as he isn't paying maintenance so I am supporting her and its putting us into huge financial debts. Please I don't know if you can help but I am so desperate I have to try.

Al

Answer to the Question

Posted by Att. Patrick on 03-11-2016 12:05:46

Hi there and thank you for your question,

What your wife needs to do is to report the sexual assault to the police and ask them to investigate it. She can't let that slide. She needs to assert her rights to her body now otherwise nobody will believe her about it in the future!

It does not make a difference if she told her ex-husband whether she was married or not, the fact of the matter is that she has a right to bodily integrity and the ex-husband is not legally allowed to assault her - sexually or otherwise. The assault is most certainly a crime which should be reported.

I understand her not wanting to make waves in the community, but at some point in time she needs to stand up for herself. She needs to assert her rights and tell her ex-husband "No more".

The one way to do this would be to apply for a domestic violence protection order against the ex-husband based on the sexual assault. Another way is for her to lay formal criminal charges against him and ask the police / court to prosecute the ex-husband for his crimes against her.

All of this would boost her chances at securing primary care giver for her children - since her allegations would be that the ex-husband is abusive and a potential criminal.

If your wife is not able to proceed down this route herself, then I would strongly advise her to hire an attorney who could assist with  reporting the secual assault to the police, and/or instituting the application for the domestic violence protection order! 

I can't refer you to a specific attorney, but I can direct you to www.southafricanlawyer.co.za, where you can find a list of qualified attorneys in your area who will be able to assist you further!

If there is a part of the answer which you need more advice on, or clarity please continue in this same thread instead of opening a new question.

Att. Patrick

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Answer Accepted

This answer was accepted on 03-11-2016 23:58:34

Information provided by client

Hi Pattrick,
Thank you for your answer!!!
She has already reported it. The police tried to arrest him but he is in hiding. She is losing hope and is afraid and wants to drop the charge. Is there any way I can intervene. She is afraid but it is because of what happened to her. Not because of the strength of her case.

Information provided by client

My apologies Patrick, I am in a bad state and typed your name incorrectly.

Information provided by client

Hi Patrick, can I have your contact details as well if I require an attorney?

Answer to the Question

Posted by Att. Patrick on 04-11-2016 09:08:52

Hi again,

She mustn't drop the charges. She must let the police investgiate the assault and arrest the ex-husband. She must stay strong. You must remember that once a matter has been reported the police have a legal duty to investigate. You can't therefore just drop the charges where there has been a serious assault.

If she REALLY wants to drop the charges then she must speak to the investigating officer and convince him to close the file. There is nothing that you can do from Australia except to hire an attorney for her to assist.

I can't refer you to a specific attorney, but I can direct you to www.southafricanlawyer.co.za, where you can find a list of qualified attorneys in your area who will be able to assist you further!

Wishing you and your wife the very best of luck!

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