'I endured pain': GBV survivor says police, justice system failed her

Janelle Laattoe is currently fighting to get find her docket to prosecute her abuser.

Janelle Laattoe, a gender-based violence survivor, tells how she was abused. Picture: Graig-Lee Smith/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Imagine having broken bones and then physical scars for the rest of your life.

Now imagine living with a partner who abuses you every single day for three years.

That is the reality of many women across the country.

While we celebrate Women’s Month, the scourge of abuse continues.

Janelle Laattoe is currently fighting to get find her docket to prosecute her abuser.

Eyewitness News earlier this week reported on the number of dockets that have gone missing in gender-based violence (GBV) cases in the Western Cape.

Janelle’s docket is one of the close to 200 that have gone missing.

Cases are withdrawn, postponed or thrown out of court if there is no docket to proceed with a criminal case.

Most of these cases are GBV cases and Janelle is one of them.

"I endured pain, I endured every form of abuse. It was mental, physical, emotional, everything. I had my arm crushed to a point where I needed ligament reconstruction. I have a metal plate in my arm because of that. I needed dental work done because of the impact on my mouth," Laattoe said.

She said that trauma would be with her for the rest of her life.

"I have permanent scars on my body from being dragged down a tar road. I have a scar on this arm where he tried to burn my face with an iron," Laattoe said.

Janelle told Eyewitness News that the justice system and police failed her.

She is on a mission to find her missing document to begin to pick up the pieces and move forward. She has encouraged women to seek help and to never give up.

Meanwhile, NGOs and crime-fighting organisations have called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to stick to his promise by not giving bail to anyone who is charged for gender-based violence.

As we celebrate Women’s Month, women are still being sexually assaulted and abused by men, often the ones they know.

Community activist Lucinda Evans said that government had failed the victims and survivors of GBV.

"If you rape a person… the person inside dies. The person dies, it is genocide... it is. It is deeper that women in this country... we have no voice, we have no one advocating for us," Evans said.

She said that the women of 2022 needed to mobilise to continue surviving.

"We need to... that is if some of us are still alive at that time. Not raped, not murdered not hijacked. If we are still alive... but it cannot be that rape is prioritised in the response of the leaders in this country," she said.

She said that she would continue to fight to get justice for all women.