Saturday, 17 May 2008

Schalk's sister 'fighting back'

The identikit of one of the suspects. (Picture supplied)

15/05/2008 15:28 - (SA)

Verashni Pillay

Cape Town - René Burger, the young woman who was brutally gang raped after she was kidnapped from the Tygerberg hospital parking lot, wants to send out a message to other rape survivors that they have nothing to be ashamed of, a family spokesperson said on Thursday.

"René wants to make a statement by saying 'I'm not ashamed by what they did to me and I want to show people I'm fighting back,' said family friend and spokesperson Dup de Bruyn.

"That's the message she wants to give out to other people in the same situation."

René, the younger sister of Springbok flank Schalk Burger, was abducted by three men on her way to classes at Tygerberg hospital on Monday May 5.

She was forced into her car and taken to an empty house somewhere between Joostenbergvlakte and Klipheuwel - about 30km from campus - and repeatedly raped and assaulted.

She managed to escape when the men went outside to investigate a noise, according to her statement given to police a day after the rape.

Her keys were still in her car and she sped off to meet her parents in Stellenbosch, where she was hospitalised.


While her name was withheld initially, the family, known for their high profile in South African rugby, confirmed on Thursday that it was their youngest child René who had been raped.

She has compiled an identikit of one of her assailants.

"The family has given an interview to Huisgenoot that will come out tomorrow," said de Bruyn. "They wanted to put a stop to all the speculation."

The Burgers, who own a wine estate in Wellington in the Western Cape, are tired and drained after their ordeal, according to de Bruyn.

"She has been receiving counselling and she will still receive it," de Bruyn told News24. "Under the circumstances she is as well as one can hope."

The close-knit family, including older brothers Schalk and Tiaan, were staying by her side at the family farm.

René, 20, is a second year medical student at the University of the Western Cape.

She gained representative colours for netball and has been described by Schalk in the past as the one in the family with "all the looks and all the brains".

Police spokesperson, Captain Marie Louw said the investigation was still continuing and no arrests had been made yet.


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