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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 4 of Episode 64

12:15During the 13 months of human rights violations hearings of the Truth Commission a large number of women gave testimony. Most of them came as the wives or mothers of victims, but it has become clear that women suffered in a different way. While torture and abuse happened to most political prisoners, female detainees were treated differently in one crucial respect: their bodies became areas of power in the relationship between torturer and prisoner. Women faced rape or the threat of rape, forced abortions and constant verbal abuse about their sexuality.Full Transcript
12:52The women always come there talking about what happened to their sons, to their husbands. They hardly tell us about what has happened and yet when you probe deeper you also find that they also experienced violations and some of them more terrible than some of the people they have come to talk about. But I’m always so struck by their bravery and the fact that for all these years they managed to keep all these stories to themselves.Full Transcript
13:25‘Arrest, Interrogation, Torture’Full Transcript
13:32They made me stand the whole night, there was no chair, but I was given a pen to write a statement. I wrote a brief history of myself. It was Saturday. Sunday I continued the same thing. They kept on tearing the papers and telling me to write. The third night I started becoming delirious and my legs were swelling. Eventually I must have passed out, I was bleeding. I must have passed out because when I came to I was lying on the floor, all wet, they must have poured water over me and he threw a packet of sanitary pads at me. ‘Go to the bathroom.’ And I could see that I was menstruating and I was just wondering how he realized that.Full Transcript and References
14:47When they brought that child, they knew how much I was in love with my son; they knew that I would break down immediately. So this is part of the warfare, part of the game. They put the child there, they knew she will crack; she will do what we want. And I refused to do that.Full Transcript and References
15:06‘Fear of rape’Full Transcript
15:11At one stage they asked one of the men to rape me. He didn’t actually do it but he did come towards me as if he was going to do it. It was all part of a game that they were playing.Full Transcript and References
15:22I was terrified that one day I would be gang raped by those bullies. After all what self respecting males armed to the teeth, swagger with bravado, escorting an unarmed woman whose only armoury is her brains, skin colour and resolve to live a life of love and respect for other human beings.Full Transcript
15:45But not only were they victims of detention without trial, but they were also victims of abuse, victims of rape during interrogation, victims of unwanted pregnancies, from the security forces who were taking them in and out of detention.Full Transcript and References
16:03‘Pregnancy and Abortion’Full Transcript
16:08There were soldiers all over, even on the bed where I was in the labour ward; the soldiers were surrounding my bed. My doctor, whom I remember very well, Dr. van der Walt, asked those soldiers to move away from the room because I cannot help this woman with you around. They were all men. They refused. Because I heard them talking over the radios and then afterwards they told a doctor that they should be there when I’m giving birth. They stood there … and I gave birth in their presence looking at me, laughing at me when I was having labour pains. I was like a joke to them. Full Transcript and References
17:02When they discovered that I was pregnant I knew immediately that they were going to try and use this and they did.Full Transcript
17:11He came and he said that he knew exactly how he was going to get me to cooperate and that they’d prepared a chemical for me to drink to kill the baby and he was going to burn the baby from my body.Full Transcript
17:26‘Hope and Humanity’Full Transcript
17:31The beating up lasted for a week. I was asthmatic and they refused to give me medication. I remember somewhere along the line I was very fortunate that this uniformed policeman came, an Afrikaner. I’ll never forget his name, Taljaard. He told me that he thought I was mad; I was just a mad person. I tried to explain to him and he listened carefully and then understood that I was actually a political prisoner and I’d just been tortured. He smuggled in asthma spray and tablets for me and helped me hide them in the cell. We hid them behind the toilet.Full Transcript
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