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Saturday, 6 June 2015
WHATS NOW ? UKIBAKWA USICHELEWE KUELEZA DUNIA 'ILI WAHUSIKA WASHIKISHWE ADABU'' I WAS PUT ON MEDICATION SIMILAR TO CHEMO TO BLOCK THE HIV''RUWA MANGI OMBA YASIKUKUTE'' POLE SANA JES''
Jes, pictured with husband Jonathan and their baby twins Layla and Daniel, says she has not let the attack taint the brilliant things that have happened since
A woman who was gang-raped in front of her father while he was held at knifepoint has set up a foundation to encourage other victims to come forward.
Jes Foord, 28, from Waterfall, near Durban, South Africa, has waived her right to anonymity after the horrific attack involving five men - three of whom raped her.
The mother-of-twins, who is now married to Jonathan, revealed how she and her father Tim, then 57, were approached by the gang who were carrying guns as they walked their puppy Lucy in Shongweni.
Jes Foord pictured on her wedding day, being walking up the aisle by her father Tim''
Jess went on to have twins - Layla and Daniel, pictured - with her husband Jonathan after the attack
Jes says she wants to tell her story to address the low rate of attack convictions in the country, and is urging other women to come forward.
She said: 'When I saw the men I assumed they would rob us.
'But instead they tied my father to a tree and held a knife to his throat while the others took it in turns to rape
TUMECHOTA NA KUMIMINA KUTOKA DM 'ILI MJIONEE''
'I could have been broken. It could have destroyed us. Instead I am closer than ever to my father.'
Recounting the day of the attack, in March 2008, Jes, then 21, said: 'We were taking Lucy for her first dip in the lake. The sun was blazing and Lucy was just splashing around.
'I heard a noise, it was a man shouting. I turned around and saw a muscular young man holding a gun.
‘Instinctively, I dropped to the floor throwing my hands in the air. My dad did the same.'
Jes and her parents Tim and Jacqui at the Jes Foord Foundation centre in South Africa''
Jes, pictured with her mother Jacqui and her twins Layla and Daniel, said she wants to tell her story to encourage other women to come forward
The pair, who assumed they would be robbed, told the gang to take their car.
Jes said: 'My mouth was dry with terror as they wrenched off my necklace and bracelet. I prayed they would grab our stuff and run.
'Instead, they pushed us both into a ditch, with their guns digging into our backs.'
The gang tied her father's arms and legs to a tree and held a knife to his throat.
Jes said: 'I watched helpless. He kept saying, "I'm here Jes".
'The sound of his voice was the only thing that made sense in this nightmare. Then one man shoved dad's fishing hat into his mouth with his knife, and he was silent.'
Jes realised the danger she was in.
She said: 'They were urging each other on and jeering. One ripped off my shorts while the other held a blade to my neck.
‘They took it in turns one by one. I thought it would never stop.
'I kept thinking that they would never break me, that they wouldn't win.
'When it was over, they drove off in our truck. I saw the look in my dad's eyes, it was heartbreaking.'
Jes untied her father and ran for help. Two women on horses stopped on the path and called the emergency services.
Jonathan was convinced they were having twins and at the nine-week scan it turned out he was right
When they reached their home, paramedics, police and social workers were all waiting to examine Jes and take samples.
She said: 'I felt so numb while they took the swabs.
'I was put on medication similar to chemo to block HIV. I lost my hair and was sick for weeks.
'I had to take the morning after pill, plus TB and STD medication.'
Two days after the attack, police caught the perpetrators.
She said: 'I broke down. At least they were off the streets and behind bars.'
A year later Jes saw her attackers again for the first time. The men, aged between 17 and 26, who laughed as she gave evidence in court, jailed for a combined 107 years.
She later met the man she would marry.
Jes, who has kept her maiden name, told how her father walked her down the aisle at her wedding to husband Jonathan, 28, in 2011.
Last year the delighted pair welcomed baby twins Layla and Daniel.
She said: 'When it happened, I decided I wasn't going to let it control me. They took something from me and I couldn't prevent that, but the rest of my life is mine.
'I have my babies to keep me going.'
Conviction rates are notoriously low in South Africa, so to encourage other rape victims to come forward, Jes waived her right to anonymity.
She said: 'At first, I wasn't sure I made the right decision. But then I started getting letters from well-wishers and I knew it was important.
An image from Jes and Jonathan's wedding day in 2011. The couple met shortly after her attackers were jailed''
'My mum Jacqui, 64, brother Stephen, 25, and my dad were 100 per cent supportive.'
Jes had to give evidence during the trial in March 2009 but asked for the court to be cleared.
She said: 'I didn't want my dad or the rest of my family to go through it again.
'Sickeningly, my attackers laughed throughout my evidence.'
Nthuhuko Chili, 18, Lindani Maphumulo, 19, and Mbotho Msomi, 26, all from Shongweni Reserve, were given life sentences for rape and sexual assault and 15 years each for armed robbery with aggravating circumstances to run concurrently at Durban High Court.
Siyabonga Ntinga, 18, also from Shongweni Reserve, was acquitted of raping Mrs Foord, but sentenced to 15 years for armed robbery.
The fifth attacker was 17, so he cannot be named. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Following the gang's conviction Jes set up the Jes Foord Foundation.
Her aim is to encourage other victims to come forward and try to remove the stigma, as well as improving facilities at police stations for rape victims.
Jes, who is concerned about South Africa's low conviction rate for rape, is speaking out because she wants other rape victims to come forward.
Her vision and mission is to create centres that will assist rape survivors and their families through counselling, while educating the community on rape.
In 2009, Jes met her partner Jonathan through a mutual friend. Her father walked her down the aisle during their 2011 wedding.
She said: 'It was so wonderful to have my dad walk me down the aisle. I've never let what happened taint the brilliant things that have happened since.'
Jes had an ovarian cyst removed in 2010 and the damage caused to her ovaries meant it was unlikely she would ever have children.
She said: 'It felt like a miracle finding out I was pregnant. We were so overwhelmed, it was amazing.
'From the beginning, Jonathan was convinced we were having twins and at the nine-week scan it turned out he was right.'
She said she worried about Layla's safety.
She said: 'To begin with I said I'd let her live her own life. Now I am worried about her, but when she's old enough I will tell her what happened.
‘I want to be open with her. I don't want to let one moment of my life control me forever.'