Dumisani Rebombo was a 15-year-old boy when he was raped. Some years later, he raped a teenage girl of the same age. And, twenty years after he carried out that horrible act against the young girl, Rebombo found and asked her for forgiveness. The woman, now married, told him she would try and “get the bitterness out of her heart.”
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In an interview with CNN, Rebombo recalled the circumstances behind why he raped the innocent teen and how he is devoting his life fighting the same kind of behavior that he once thought was a normal part of boyhood in South Africa.
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Here is some of what he told CNN:
The boys in his village of Blinkwater taunted (Rebombo) because he didn’t herd cattle and instead went home to help his sisters. He didn’t have a girlfriend.
“Sissy,” the village boys jeered, and challenged him to prove his manhood.
The way to do that was by having sex. Forced sex.
Rebombo had refused until that day, when he gave in to peer pressure. He recounts what happened in a quiet, steady tone.
Two of his friends picked out a girl. They said she thought she was smarter than the boys; she didn’t date anyone.
Rebombo and his friends would set her straight.
“I was afraid because I’d never had sex before,” Rebombo says.
At 5 o’clock in the evening, he met his friends, drank beer, smoked marijuana.
Then it started. The first boy raped her; then the second. She was screaming. It was Rebombo’s turn.
After it was over, he felt terrible, wracked with guilt and scared that his parents would find out. He says he never gave a thought about how the victim was feeling.
A woman is raped every 26 seconds in South Africa, according to CNN. The issue of rape in this developing nation was brought to the international forefront last month when video of a girl with special needs was ganged raped and shared online. To hear the rest of Rebombo’s story, look at the video below. And, for additional video stories on rape in South Africa, go to CNN.