An open letter to Ina Bonnette

Think of a topic or issue about which you’ve switched your opinion. Why the change?

christ

This prompt coincides well with a post I’ve been working at all day – an open Letter to Ina Bonnette:

Dear Ina

I don’t really know where to start.  I guess there is no better way than to say “Thank You”.

What you have been through is an ordeal none of us can begin to imagine.  We can sit back and think about all the horrible stuff we have had to endure.  We can sit back and think about all the pain that was enforced on us by animals who call themselves “human beings”.  I can sit here and say “I am sorry for what you have had to endure” or “I know what you are going through”, but we don’t ever really know do we?  Your experiences, your ability to process it all and your life makes your situation unique.  As does mine and that of millions of other women across the planet who have had to suffer at the hand of someone they once loved or trusted or perhaps even someone they did not even know.

Yet, despite everything, you stood firm in your faith and you sat there during the trial.  In the presence of that monster.  You sat there and watched him squirm, making up the story as he goes along.  You bravely sat there every day and faced the monster head on.

Thank you for your bravery.  Thank you for making a stance.  Thank you for sending the  message that women will no longer stand back and allow the life to be stolen from us.  Thank you for not disappearing.  Thank you for being strong.

You are a huge inspiration to women across the world.  Your actions throughout the trial, no matter how small they may seem to you now, spoke volumes.  You gave women back their power.

I listened to your quick radio interview this morning and tears came to my eyes.  Then you said “I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive him” and I felt compelled to write to you.

Ina, I know that right now it is incredibly hard to even fathom the idea, but you are going to have to forgive him.

I once knew such an animal.  I hated him and I swore that I would never forgive or forget.  I tried to just blend into the background.  I wanted to be invisible.  I wanted to disappear.  I didn’t want anyone to know of my existence.  I ran away from home and left behind everyone else who loved me.

About a year later I found myself walking in a shopping center.  I felt hollow and dead inside.  I looked at my reflection in the shop window and it dawned on me “He is still controlling your life.  He is still in charge.”  I made the realization that as long as I am not living the full life God intended me to live, I am still giving the monster power over my life.  Worst part of all?  I am doing it willingly and he does not even know about it!

I’m not saying that you should forget about what happened.  I’m not saying you should not mourn about it.  You will never forget, but you can heal.  Forgiving him does not mean that you have to allow him into your life ever again!  Forgiving him only means that you give yourself the power to heal.  Forgiving him means that you give yourself the power, which you  have given to so many women when you attended the trial.

I am not a councilor or psychologist.  I don’t have any degree which gives me the right to tell you what to do.  All I can do is tell you my story.  Once I made the realization that I am giving him power over my life, I was able to forgive and move on.  Once I managed to forgive him, I was able to heal.  Once healed, I was able to blossom into the woman God wanted me to be.

Your faith in God gave you the strength to get through this ordeal.  Trust in Him to help you forgive.  Trust in Him to heal.

Ina, you are a beautiful and magnificently strong woman, you are worthy of more.

Remember that.

You are worthy.

Stay strong.

Judge Bert Bam serves justice

justice

If you are a normal, sane human being, you would agree that we all think of rape as a horrendous act, which deserves the highest punishment.  Only those who have had to endure it though, will be able to tell how far reaching the effects truly are.  Rape is not something that you ever forget.  You may, in time, forgive and move on.  Sadly though, despite the healing, the memories will always remain.

It is for this reason that I can’t understand why the gravity of the act carries so little weight in sentencing.  Generally speaking, rapists normally receive a 10 – 15 year sentence.  Effectively that means that if a man rapes a 13-year old, he will be out by the time she is 23.  He can start fresh and build a life.  At 23 her life is only starting, but instead of carrying an innocent curiosity and fire for life, she carries with her emotional scars.  Scars unseen to the naked eye, scars which will influence relationships.

The country held its breath today as sentencing of the Modimolle Monster was handed down.  The courtroom packed to the brim with various ministers, advocates as well as a group of ANC Women’s League Members.  Ina Bonette sat staring at her ex-husband, no doubt recalling the mutilation, rape, assault and murder of her son, despite his pleas.

Twitter went viral today after the sentence in the Modimolle Monster trial was handed down today.  One Tweeter commented “It was with a great sense of relieve that we heard sense and sensibility prevail in a country which seemed to have gone mad where justice is concerned.”

In handing out the sentence, Judge Bam (my new favorite SA Judge) tore the defense apart in his ruling today, stating that Johan Kotze is an inherently evil person.   He further stated that the co-accused expected payment for their part in the act and, despite their clear criminal record, it adds gravity to the case against them.

The judgement is as follows:

Johan Kotze – life for murder of Conrad Bonette, life for rape of Ina Bonette, 25 years for kidnapping and assault

All the co-accused – life sentences for their part.

After yesterday’s ruling Kotze did a brief interview stating “I have certain things he wish to say, things that will be said after sentencing tomorrow”.  He further added that he does not want any sensation around this case as he is not a sensation seeker.  After sentencing today, however, he clearly decided not to have his press conference. He hurried down to the cells as fast as he could.

 Ina Bonette was visibly moved, every now and then smiling through her tears.  She indicated that she was overwhelmed but happy that justice have prevailed.
Thank you Judge Bam for restoring our faith in the South African Justice System.  Let this serve as a warning to the other monsters who walk our land:  No longer will we sit by and watch our women be destroyed by your evil!