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By Shanice Naidoo

Digital Journalist

Captain Khomotso Maluleke: Hero to deaf victims of gender-based violence

Captain Khomotso Maluleke has learnt sign language to help deaf gender-based-violence victims have a voice.

In the quiet corridors of Mpumalanga, Captain Khomotso Maluleke is going beyond the call of duty to ensure that the voices of deaf victims of gender-based violence (GBV) are not just heard but understood. Her inspiring journey started with a personal encounter that touched her.

Her call to sign language

“I was working at a police station in Mpumalanga when I couldn’t help a deaf male victim who was robbed and assaulted. That’s when I decided to take matters into my own hands and learn South African sign language at Wits University,” Maluleke told The Citizen.

She now serves as a forensic social worker within the family violence, child protection, and sexual investigations unit.

Her commitment to bridging the communication gap for deaf victims led her to complete levels 1A to 3B in sign language. Reflecting on her journey, she remarked, “I believe that my sign language will help me to communicate with deaf victims of GBV and the deaf community when there is a need.”

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Maluleke, driven by an early desire to become a doctor, found her true calling in helping people. “My dream was always to help people, inspired by my mother who took care of family children without complaining on her domestic worker’s salary,” she said.

Her impact extends beyond the confines of her role, as she successfully helped a 13-year-old girl who had been raped by her uncle. Maluleke’s proudest achievement lies in providing the young victim with a safe place to stay and the opportunity to return to school. “I am happy that I am making change in helping people,” she added.

Putting GBV perpetrators behind bars

In her pursuit of justice, Maluleke secured life imprisonments for two GBV offenders, emphasising the importance of accountability. Other offenders faced up to eight years in prison for charges related to sexual assault, child neglect, and common assault – all GBV-related cases. She has put around 13 GBVF offenders behind bars.

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As the 16 days of activism unfold, Maluleke encourages individuals to step forward and report any abuse. “I encourage people to report any abuses that are happening to them and also neighbours to report any abuse,” she urged, highlighting the collective responsibility in the fight against GBV.

Maluleke’s story is one of resilience, compassion, and a relentless pursuit of justice, breaking barriers for deaf victims of GBV and leaving a mark on her community. In the silence of sign language, she finds a powerful tool to give voice to those who need it the most.

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