In an echo of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus in December, A 17-year-old South African girl Anene Booysen has suffered a similar fate and died of injuries received in a gang rape at the weekend.
The Cape Town-based Cape Argus newspaper said the victim was sliced open from her stomach to her genitals. She was dumped in an industrial area of Bredasdorp, 130 km (80 miles) east of Cape Town.
Booysen was lured away from a local hangout spot in the early hours of Saturday morning and raped repeatedly and mutilated. She had been left for dead, but security guards found her and called police. She was taken to Tygerberg Hospital where she died on Saturday evening, but not before she named one of her assailants. A hospital source told the newspaper her injuries were too horrific to describe.
The brutal gang rape of the student provoked rare cries of outrage in a country with a high level of sexual violence. The Indian case triggered protests against endemic anti-female violence. But the Bredasdorp murder is unlikely to provoke a similar outpouring of anger in South Africa, where women’s groups say rape has lost the power to shock.
The African National Congress Women’s League voiced its “disgust” at the crime labeling it a national shame and has called on South Africa to take a stand against rape. “As South Africans we need to come together as a nation and declare ‘enough is enough’. The scourge of rape cannot be seen as a women’s issue any longer but rather all South Africans of all creeds need to come together as a nation and take a stand against this vulgar and despicable act of sexual crime,” the league said.
Spokeswoman Troy Martens said, “We cannot let another girl or woman suffer like 17-year-old Anene Booysen. We commend her for her bravery and for identifying one of her attackers before she succumbed to her terrible injuries. We are confident police will work tirelessly to find her other attackers and ensure justice is served.”
Martens said the community needed to help the authorities ensure that these “despicable” characters faced the full might of the law. “Rapists need to know that no one in [a] moral society will protect them once they have committed such a heinous crime,” she said.
A Cape Town NGO says its concerned South Africans are becoming desensitized to rape while psychologist Ilse Ahrend, from the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children, said this type of attack should elicit widespread outrage. “Maybe because it’s just happens so often, the people have become kind of apathetic, ‘what can I do about it?’
Meanwhile, The Council of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) also voiced its outrage at the rape and said it’s appalled and disgusted at the horrific rape and murder of Anene Booysen.
“When a very similar incident occurred in India recently, there was a massive outbreak of protest and mass demonstrations in the streets; it was a big story around the world. We must show the world that South African are no less angry at such crimes and make an equally loud statement of disgust, and protest in the streets. We need to unite as a nation to make criminals scared of society’s outrage when such acts are perpetrated,” the trade union federation added.
A 22-year-old man appeared in the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on charges of rape and murder. The case was postponed until February 12. The man remained in custody while police were searching for his accomplices.
Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News – 2013-02-07