While the outrage over the fatal gang rape of the 17-year old Anene Booysen has yet to simmer down South Africa was greeted again by the news of another woman being sexually assaulted by a group of men.
This latest incident of sexual abuse in South Africa happened on February 21 in a mining area outside of Johannesburg. Lungelo Dlamini, a spokeswoman of the local police, reported that the victim, a 23-year old woman, and a friend were heading home to their village in Carletonville when eight men described as illegal miners confronted them.
Dlamini added that the men dragged the woman to nearby bushes after the latter was hit in the head with a hard object. The men then took turns in abusing her before she was brought to a shack where another four men took advantage of her.
Having been positively identified, the assailants were later on arrested and would soon face prosecution for the crime they committed. The victim luckily is alive and is currently recuperating in a hospital for the multiple injuries she sustained on the head, face and body.
Her friend was lucky to have escaped.
Crackdown on Rapists Ordered
On February 2, the world was horrified by the news about the 17-year old South African girl, Anene Booysen, who was gang-raped and mutilated by three men.
She was still alive when found by a security guard but died later in the day. Her stomach was reportedly slit open down to her genitals. Before she breathe her last she was able to identify one of her assailants, her former boyfriend .
The spate of gang rapes has reportedly put in the spotlight South Africa’s high rate of violent crimes against women. Reports pegged the number of South African women sexually-abused each year at 65,000. It could be more than.
Boysen’s rape and mutilation have resulted to the outpouring of anger among South Africans. Demonstrations in different parts of the country are held condemning the brutal rape and slaying of the young girl.
This prompted President Jacob Zuma to address the issue in the Parliament. He called on the police to do everything necessary in addressing the problem. The police, in addition, was directed to show no mercy to those who will be found guilty. The harshest sentences on such crimes must be imposed.
Ironically, the South African president himself was accused of the crime of rape some years back. It was alleged that he had raped a 31-year old family friend at his home in Forest Town, Johannesburg. Zuma was formally charged in court but was acquitted. He maintained that he had a consensual sexual relationship with the woman, an HIV-positive lesbian.
The death sentence has been abolished in South Africa. Thus, the maximum sentence for rape in is life imprisonment.
The South African Stigma
South Africa has a rate of sexual violence which is among the highest in the world. As claimed by women’s groups in the country , a South African woman is raped every 26 seconds. The estimate of police in the country is a woman is raped every 36 seconds.
In her article, Michelle Faul stated that in South Africa one in four women is raped and that months-old babies and 94-year old grandmothers are sexually assaulted. She added that these statistics constitute a “social disaster.”
Faul also cited a study conducted by Jewkes in 2009 where 62 percent of the surveyed boys over age 11 said that they believed that forcing someone to have sex was not an act of violence. One-third of the boys claimed that girls enjoy being raped.
The same study found that one-quarter of South African women are raped but only one in twenty-five report it to the police.