A 28-year-old mother who was raped in front of her father has vowed that she won’t let the tragic incident ruin her life. In fact, Jes Foord has set up a new foundation that is designed to encourage other rape victims to come forward.
In March 2008, Jes Foord was walking her dog Lucy alongside her 57-year-old father Tim in Shongweni when the pair were approached by a gang of five men, who were carrying guns.
Foord has recalled the horrific scenario, via the Daily Mail, to try and help other victims come forward as she looks to address the extremely low rate of rape convictions in South Africa. “When I saw the men I assumed they would rob us,” Foord admitted. “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 me.”
Jes continued, “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.”
After trying to encourage the gang to have their car, the pair were then pushed into a ditch where the nightmare started to unfold. Jes’ father’s arms and legs were tied to a tree while a knife was then held to his throat, and then as the gang each began to rape her he repeatedly said to her, “I’m here, Jes.”
Jes remarked how this kept her sane throughout the incident, stating, “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.”
Five men originally attacked Jes and Tim, while three of them then raped Jes, who at the time was in her early twenties. However, rather than destroying their relationship, Jes admitted that she has never been closer to her father.
“I could have been broken,” Jes stated. “It could have destroyed us. Instead I am closer than ever to my father.”
Jes was immediately tested for HIV, and put on medication that was similar to chemotherapy in order to block the illness. This led to her losing her hair and being sick for a number of weeks.
Two days after the rape, police caught those responsible and the five men, who were aged between 17 and 26, have since been jailed for a combined 107 years. In 2011, Jes married 28-year-old Jonathan and was walked down the aisle by Tim, and in 2014 the pair welcomed their twins Layla and Daniel.
Following the conviction of the group, Jes decided to set up the Jes Foord Foundation, which has been designed to help rape victims come forward, provide counselling for those attacked, and educate the community on rape.
[Image via Jonsson Journey]