The rape and mutilation of a teenager woman in South Africa has sparked an outburst of anger in a country that often appears numb to sexual violence. One in every four-woman get raped form babies to seniors. A 17-year-old woman was gang-raped, had her stomach sliced open and left in a construction for dead last week. Anine Booysen was found in the southwestern town of Breadasdrop and she died later on in the hospital.
The case has shocked the nation where tales of sexual violence are commonplace.
“The whole nation is outraged at this extreme violation and destruction of a young human life,” President Jacob Zuma said in a statement on Thursday.
“This act is shocking, cruel and most inhumane. It has no place in our country,” he said.
“We must never allow ourselves to get used to these acts of base criminality to our women and children.”
According to official statistics 65,000 sexual offences were committed in South Africa, but only 36 cases get reported.
“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.
But questions have been raised about whether the Bredasdorp rape will provoke protests similar to those seen in India, after a 23-year-old Delhi student was in December gang-raped on a bus before she was thrown out of the moving vehicle.
She had suffered brain injuries and massive internal damage in the attack, and died in hospital in Singapore where she had been taken for treatment.
There has been talk not enough action is being taken against the scourge in South Africa – the rape capital.
The Cape Argus newspaper cited a witness saying that the teenager’s body was cut open from her stomach through to her genital area, and exposed her internal organs.
Two suspects have been arrested and one of them appeared in court this week on murder and rape charges.
Studies have found that more than one-quarter of South African men admitted to raping a woman or girl.
“It’s a social disaster,” she said. The number of “men who try to feel better about their past by trying to make out that what they did wasn’t serious or wasn’t rape is obviously huge and must be a huge obstacle to getting anything done – from police making arrests to decisions in the courtroom by magistrates and so forth.”
The maximum sentence for rape in South Africa is life in prison. The death sentence has been abolished. Zuma himself was accused of rape by the HIV-positive, lesbian daughter of a close friend in 2005. Zuma said the sex was consensual and he was acquitted, but is unlikely to live down his comment in court that he had a shower afterward to cut the risk of acquiring AIDS.
In a study conducted by Jewkes in 2009, 62 percent of surveyed boys over age 11 said they believed that forcing someone to have sex was not an act of violence. One-third said girls enjoy being raped.
“We must show the world that South Africans are no less angry at such crimes and make an equally loud statement of disgust, and protest in the streets,” he said.
A funeral for the teenager is planned for Saturday.