Wednesday, July 30, 2008

'It was only after the girl had received psychological therapy' that she said she was raped

Sometimes it is mystifying where a young woman gets the idea in her head that innocuous, innocent conduct was "rape."

For this case, blame it on counseling.

In their zeal to be helpful, some counselors don't care what they do to innocent men and boys. Sadly, they are a prime reason for the modern day rape hysteria.

Namibia: Ex-Headmaster Found Not Guilty of Rape

Werner Menges

THE former principal of the Concordia College high school in Windhoek, Ben Awoseb, on Friday won the more than three-year-long battle he had been fighting against charges that he had abducted and raped a 17-year-old student at his school in March 2005.

With the verdict in his trial given, Awoseb left the Windhoek Regional Court with only a N$1 000 fine or nine-month prison term, which he received after he was found guilty on a charge of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice, as the official remnants of the three charges he had been facing before Magistrate Sarel Jacobs.

Awoseb (48) was acquitted on the two most serious charges that he faced, which were counts of rape and abduction.

He was accused of abducting a 17-year-old student at Concordia College, where he was the headmaster at the time, from the school premises on the evening of March 17 2005.

It was alleged that Awoseb drove with the girl in his car to the Ausspannplatz area in Windhoek.

There he then parked the vehicle and proceeded to kiss the girl, grope her breasts and sexually assault her, it was charged further.

After that alleged incident, Awoseb took the girl to a shop where he bought her food, and then took her back to the school premises, where she was living in a hostel, it was also alleged.

Awoseb denied all these allegations.

In his judgement, Magistrate Jacobs noted that when she initially told a friend about the events alleged to have taken place in Awoseb's car, she reported that he had kissed her and touched her breasts and private parts.

When she made a report to the deputy principal of Concordia College the next day, she claimed Awoseb had kissed her and touched her breasts, the Magistrate further recounted the evidence before him.

It was only after the girl had received psychological therapy that she also said that Awoseb had carried out a sexual assault on her that would constitute rape in terms of the Combating of Rape Act, Magistrate Jacobs noted.

The court had no doubt that if the girl wanted to tell people what had happened to her, she would have done so without leaving out certain details, the Magistrate remarked.

He said he could find no reason why she would have left out certain parts of her accusations against Awoseb.

To say that this happened because it was difficult to talk about a sexual assault is unconvincing, the Magistrate added.

He said the reports the girl had made at different times could not be regarded as consistent.

The girl also claimed that when Awoseb brought her back to the school premises, a hostel matron saw her being dropped off by him.

According to the matron, though, Awoseb was alone at his car when she saw him that evening.
She told the court that she saw the girl nearby, but did not see her carrying any food, the Magistrate further recounted some of the testimony he heard.

Considering the evidence as a whole, the court was not convinced that Awoseb had removed the girl from the school premises or that an act of rape had occurred thereafter, Magistrate Jacobs said.

The situation on the third charge - a count of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice - was different, though.

Awoseb admitted that after he learned that the girl had laid a charge against him, which led to him being arrested on April 12 2005, he phoned her and asked her to withdraw the charge against him.

He considered this to be a false charge, orchestrated by other teachers at Concordia College who were not happy with the way he was trying to enforce better discipline at the school, Awoseb claimed.

The court had no doubt that when he phoned the girl and asked her to withdraw the charge, Awoseb's intention was to bring the pending judicial proceedings against him to an end, Magistrate Jacobs said in his judgement.

That constituted an attempt to defeat or obstruct the course of justice, he ruled.

Awoseb was defended by veteran defence counsel Hennie Barnard.

The prosecution was conducted by Public Prosecutor Brownwell Uirab.