By Ed Cropley
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A 17-year-old South African girl died of injuries inflicted in a gang-rape at the weekend, provoking rare outrage on Wednesday in a country inured to some of the world’s highest levels of sexual violence.
The victim had been sliced open from her stomach to her genitals and dumped on a building site in the town of Bredasdorp, 130 km (80 miles) east of Cape Town, the Cape Argus newspaper reported.
The victim identified one of her attackers before she died, it said. Hospital staff who battled to save her life were given counseling because of the horrific nature of her injuries.
The case has echoes of the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a New Delhi bus that has triggered huge protests in India against endemic anti-female violence.
The Bredasdorp murder is unlikely to provoke such a large-scale outpouring of anger in South Africa, where women’s groups say rape has lost the power to shock.
“It is difficult to find reason behind the many different acts of gang rape, child rape, rape of the elderly, corrective rape and male rape,” the Women’s League of the ruling African National Congress said in a statement.
“Men and women need to join hands around this issue and fight this epidemic together. The Women’s League and a few women’s NGOs can no longer be the lone voices crying out against rape.”
South Africa’s statistics agency concluded in 2000 that it had the highest reported rape rate of all 120 Interpol member countries. Even when suspects are caught, only 12 percent of cases end in conviction.
Sexual crimes rarely spark media outrage.
One rare exception was when seven men aged between 14 and 20 went on trial last year for raping a mentally handicapped 17-year-old girl and recording it on a cell-phone video that later went viral. The case is continuing.
Even then, the incident spurred little beyond some soul-searching editorials and anguished radio phone-ins.
(Additional reporting by Stella Mapenzauswa; editing by Andrew Roche)
Read another article HERE
During our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light. SA our reaction to rape and murder decides our future destiny.
As you can see I am adding pictures of INDIAN protesters. It seems, and media reporters voice this, that South Africa stays indifferent to these horrible crimes committed to their women and children.
Just last week the Sowetan featured a story of a 13 year old girl suffering from Epilepsy being sold as a child bride to a Limpopo Sangoma.
In South Africa we have learned to to lift our voice never too loudly lest it might be interpreted as “intolerance” because incidents as the sold underaged bride are often excused with “but it is our culture”. In my eyes it is not a far shot from staying silent at the trafficking of an underaged girl to a “traditional healer” to creating a system where young men grow up believing women are there for the picking, resulting in gang rapes, resulting in agonizing death.
Helloo, wake up, somebody.
This one is painfully close to our doorstep. I am honest, I cried my eyes out when the news broke about the India rape. I cannot help but picture brutality of this incident, and am deeply shaken by it. The protests of these thousands and thousands of brave men and women was comforting.
But I am crying even harder at this one. Indifference is worse than hate, its a crime in itself. Uniting South Africa seems to be much harder than uniting India. All too long have we, under the mantle of shame because of our appalling history of Apartheid, felt we need to tread lightly around “cultural” issues. The different “treatment” of women in different ethnic groups within SA has even been legalized by the government allowing a Muslim or a tribal chief the “right” to all “take” several wives, while a white Christian would find himself in serious trouble should he be polygamistically inclined.
Now wait a moment. Do we strive to become a beacon of light to the rest of Africa and the world? What about that sweet BBC documentary “South Africa’s Path to Freedom” presenting us as such a fine example of reconciliation instead of hate?
I must say the statistics of Interpol rating South Africa’s the world’s RAPE CAPITAL, a women being raped EVERY 17 SECONDS rings in stark contrast to that in my ears.
Have we attempted freedom at all cost, letting weeds grow unchecked until they become a forest so twisted and thick that it is unmanageably deadly?
“Culture”can not be blamed for the way fathers raise their sons to treat women. We are not disconnected from the rest of the world, we have to adapt an international mindset.
And no, human trafficking is NOT okay, paying money for sex or marriage with woman of any age but ESPECIALLY under-aged girls must be severely penalized and RAPE needs to be publicly condemned in the sharpest ways and punished, no bail, no excuses.
Furthermore we need to wake up and understand that all SA’s problems are linked. If our government keeps its people ignorant, by building mansions with tax money while 123 learners have to share one classroom, http://kasieconomics.wordpress.com/2013/01/31/ekasieconomics-the-123-kids/ we must expect more severe problems to come in the future.
To me it is a strong pointer that the rape took place in the Western Cape, where recently many farm workers protested against daily minimum wages of 69 Rand and saw an increase to 129 Rand/day, leading to subsequent loss hundreds of jobs.
Are the farmers to blame, many of whom providing not only the wages but also meals and housing to their workers? Many farmers struggle themselves as it is.
Do we really see ourselves as a low wage country? This equation has long crumbled. A recent discussion at the University of Stellenbosch with German ambassador Andreas Kuehne revealed that South Africa’s products are long not competitive enough for international exports any more. South Africa’s production costs have risen with 134% per unit while European production costs have sunk thanks to higher productivity.
The key lies in #education. We underutilized our potential by keeping a vast part of our citizens in utter ignorance. One skilled, educated laborer can produce more than 15 unskilled ones because of greater foresight, ability to operate machines, less waste and breakage etc etc.
I am tired of hearing there is not enough work for a specialized work force. Listen, there is not enough work for ignorant people who do not care about their employer (burning down the farms that sustain them at awhim, burning libraries, hospitals and trucks), there will not be enough money for piece jobs and day labour anymore. This country produces, but the refinement of our products often happens overseas. A trained work force can keep the refinment of our product in land. Why not become an electronic superpower? Produce world quality foods and export luxury goods en masse instead of importing them?
think with me. Quality education for free for all in first world schools, perfectly trained and equipped teachers … Educated labour – higher wages, higher buying power in local hands – higher market turn over, even higher income for our dear government, who could then give back into education.
No need to turn to crime. Pressure to perform. Fulfilled life, hope for future… and together we can make rapists extinct.
I am brainstorming roughly because I have a day job and two kids and just need to get this ball rolling somewhere! Are you with me?
As soon as my day allowes it I will talk today to other ministries, churches have volunteers and drama teams, we need to go 2 schools
#stoprape with agressive message that RAPE IS NOT EVEN FOR APES, it is wrong and rapists are criminal cowards who WILL be punished by both legal system and society.
Sex excesses, rape and pregnancy are big problems at all SA schools.
Its unacceptable and if we do not tackle it who will.
I am talking with friends to put together a musical drama show to tour schools with to educate that RAPE is wrong.
Comments and input welcome … this mommy needs to go make lunch now.