Durban – Mystery continues to shroud a trio of women who may be behind the serial rape of men across the country.
Preying upon men hitchhiking, the women lure their unsuspecting victims into a car before they are raped and robbed at gunpoint.
Five cases, spread across policing precincts around the country, bare striking similarities in modus operandi. The incidents have also put the concept of male rape in the spotlight.
Last week Phalaborwa police reported that a man, who was walking along the roadside, had been offered a lift by three women in a BMW.
Police spokesperson Constable Elvis Mongwe said one of the women offered the hitchhiker a soft drink.
“Three minutes after drinking it, he had a painful erection,” Mongwe said.
He said the man was then taken to a deserted area where the women took turns raping him at gunpoint. They did not use condoms.
Afterwards, they took his cell phone and R300 cash and dropped him off.
No arrests have been made.
This is the latest in five cases since 2008. In three of the incidents, three women had used a BMW.
Criminal psychologist Dr Jackie De Wet said that the women exhibited a state of preparedness by carrying a weapon and drugs to ply their victim with – characteristics of predators.
“Like with many serial offenders, they are mobile and they tend to blend in. The problem is that they are clearly able to travel. They can live in one place and target victims in another. By the time it gets reported, the attackers have left.
“The biggest weapon in any serial offender’s arsenal is anonymity. They appear to target men who are alone and not in large crowds,” De Wet added.
“As with any serial crime, the police need information and the more in their hands – the more they have to work with,” he said.
De Wet said that there may be other cases that will never be reported.
“There could be victims who haven’t come forward and may never come forward and the police can only react to what they know. If there is no victim there is no potential crime.
“The stigma of being a rape victim is the same for men and because they don’t want to appear weak, they don’t report it. We do not know the full scale of the problem because of this, and it is likely that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg,” he added.