Ten years in jail for the rape of a mentally disabled girl, Lesotho Today

Date: January 1, 1970
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A report about the sentencing of a man convicted of raping a mentally disabled teenager.

This article may be used to:
1. Prompt discussions about gender violence and disability.
2. Demonstrate how people are further marginalised when their voices are not heard.
Trainer’s Notes: The article only comments from the perspective of the rapist, stating that he denied committing the crime, that he is the sole breadwinner in the family and that he is a widower.  It fails to mention anything about the impact of the assault on the victim and does not mention that the rape may have exposed her to HIV – aspects that must have been raised during the trial.  Given that HIV testing is mandatory for any person charged with a sexual offence in Lesotho, the omission of any comments regarding HIV is problematic.    
Discussion Questions:
1. The article can be used to stimulate discussion about the vulnerability of girls to sexual assault and HIV since it raises a number of important issues, including the particular concerns attached to mentally and physically disabled girls and the power relations between men and women.
2. How important is having the perspective of the victim included? If the survivor is not accessible for comment, who else could be interviewed to ensure this perspective is inlcuded?
Training Exercises:
1. Trainees should rewrite the article to include comments from the perspective of the victim or here family, or at least someone able to comment on the impact of rape. 
2. Conduct research on gender based violence related to disability.
3. Voices of physically and mentally challenged people are rarely heard. Conduct an "I Story" workshop focusing on disability and GBV.
Links to Training Resources: Gender and HIV/AIDS: A Training Manual for Southern African Media and Communicators, Gender Links and the AIDS Law Project, Chapter 6, www.genderlinks.org.za/docs/training/hiv-training-manual/hiv-ch6.pdf
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