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A physical exam cannot prove virginity-doctor

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DR fails to deternine if rape victim was penetrated

Giving evidence before Maun Magistrate Court last week, in a case involving the alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl, a medical doctor stressed that virginity cannot be confirmed through physical examination.

Taking the stand on behalf of the prosecution, Dr Modiri Masheleng, who is stationed at Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone said it was impossible to tell whether or not the girl was a virgin based on physical examination.

“There is no physical finding for virginity,” stated the doctor.

Masheleng was explaining that he was unable to determine if the girl was penetrated during the alleged act in which former council candidate for Alliance for Progressives (AP), Taujoruavi Maekopo, 25, stands accused.

“Where there are no signs of skin trauma, you cannot ascertain penetration – but I did mention in my report that I could not rule out penetration.”

Since the girl had submitted before court that she was a virgin at the time of rape, the doctor was asked to confirm it and he explained that, “You cannot establish whether or not there was penetration in most females and it was the same case with this one.”

The medical examination report does not show any sign of injury on the girl’s private parts and submissions before court are yet to prove beyond reasonable doubt that she had been raped.

“There was not much evidence to conclude there was rape. You have to understand that most times there are no obvious signs of rape unless the skin was torn, so if there are no tears and no fluids the tests cannot be conclusive, but that does not mean it did not happen,” explained Dr Masheleng who was working at Letsholathebe hospital at the time of incident.

Indicators that the girl had been attacked according to the doctor was that when she was brought in by her mother she was emotionally traumatised as she was crying.

During the trial, state witnesses maintained that although no DNA tests have been made to link or clear Maekopo of the said crime, he surely is guilty.

Constable Mesiah Lesego of Botswana Police Services’ Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said at the time of examination, they had run out of sexual assault test kits and therefore no specimen was collected from her.

“We relied on her evidence. She knows the accused and I believed her account of the incident. Even the medical examination report could not rule out penetration, so that was to prove that the rape took place,” Lesego contended.

Lesego tdid not think the case could suffer prejudice due to the none availability of sexual assault kit.

But she knew all along that Maekopo was contesting the accusation, “The accused has since denied the rape. When I interviewed him, he said he admitted the accusation before the accused family under duress and to save himself from being beaten up further,” Lesego explained to court.

According to the prosecution, in February 2016, Maekopo who was left under the care of his three cousins, all girls, raped one of them, aged 12. At the time Maekopo was a student at Maun senior secondary school.

“At night he found the girls crowded on one bed and he went to his room to collect a spare mattress, put it on the floor and laid the girl on it. That was a good thing he did to let the girls sleep comfortably, what was not right was for him to go between her legs, undressed her and rape her. The complainant said when she woke up she found him on top of her, naked,” said the investigator

The CID investigator further stated that the girl’s other sister had corroborated the evidence that Maekopo got on top of the girl.

Nonetheless the sister in question has since submitted a contradicting statement in court. She has since confessed on written statement and in court that she was lying about seeing Maekopo on top of her sister. She said she only made the accusation when her family confronted Maekopo a day after the incident so as to provoke him to tell the truth.

Out of rage, the girl’s father is said to have beaten the “truth out” of Maekopo that same day.

However, when prosecution closed its submission before court last week, magistrate Thebeetsile Molalu concluded that the former council hopeful for Gumare-Tubu has a case to answer.

The matter returns to court on November 16, where Maekopo is to call in two witnesses.

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