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A Brutal Rape In South Africa Becomes Rallying Cry
3/5/2013 1:09:06 PM

Mourner at Anene Booysen's funeral

(GIN)  As a horrific killing in Sandy Hook transfixed a nation, and a rape in India shook a continent, the rape/murder of a 17 year old Black girl has become a rallying cry against violence against women of all ages in South Africa.
Editorials, rallies, proclamations have been issued almost daily at the crime story that was so shocking it could not easily be forgotten.
President Jacob Zuma described the killing as "shocking", "cruel" and "inhumane".
Anene Booysen's attackers seemingly attempted to destroy the body they had wantonly used before leaving it for dead on a construction site in Bredasdorp, a small town in the Western Cape. She was recognized by relatives only by the shoes she wore the previous night.
Bail applications for three suspects in custody, including an ex-boyfriend, will be heard on Feb. 26.
Rape is massively underreported in the country due to low conviction rates and the chilling effect of silence and shame. The Medical Research Council estimates that up to 3,600 rapes happen daily in this nation of close to 52 million people.
Rape Crisis Center director Kathleen Dey laid blame on the government which, she said, had failed to "champion the issues and ensure the correct legislation is formed to protect and empower the victims of rape."
"On the one hand I have been moved by the outcry and the public support that has come with it, but I am shocked at how politicians have now only started coming to the table and asking the tough questions and calling for action. Why only now?"
Meanwhile, a funding cut to the rape crisis center has left the center without any paid staff except for director Dey.
The crisis was summed up in a poignant commentary by political cartoonist Zapiro. On a wall behind a drawing of a young girl, perhaps the victim, Zapiro wrote:  There will be a day when gang rape, disembowelment and murder of a 17-year-old girl would actually result in more than 15 minutes of public outrage and the usual lip service from the authorities. That day should be today. Inkosi Sikelela IAfrica (God Bless Africa)

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