Hundreds of South Africans chanting “enough is enough” have gathered at a building site where a 17-year-old girl was mutilated and left to die after being gang-raped.
People marched in a procession to the site in the sleepy town of Bredasdorp, 130km east of Cape Town, where they placed flowers and candles by a simple wooden cross.
Booysen was found by security guards lying only a short distance from her house after partying at a nearby bar last Friday (February 1). She later died in the hospital.
Her foster mother, Corlia Olivier, recounted the moment when she saw her daughter dumped amid the gravel and grass, her stomach slit open down to her genitals.
“I heard her saying ‘Mommy help me, Mommy help me’ and I rushed over…and just saw her guts hanging out,” Olivier told reporters, tears welling up in her eyes.
President Jacob Zuma expressed “shock and outrage”, calling for the harshest possible sentences for the killers and a concerted campaign “to end this scourge in our society”.
ZUMA IS ALL TALK AND WAS CLEARED OF RAPE CHARGES IN THE PAST!
Meanwhile, UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay said on Friday: “The entrenched culture of sexual violence which prevails in South Africa must end.”
South Africa has the highest number of reported rapes per head of population of any Interpol member country.
One subject has dominated South Africa‘s media agenda so far this month: rape. The case of 17-year-old Anene Booysen – gang-raped and murdered, her throat slit and body mutilated by a broken bottle – has concentrated minds on a deep-rooted culture of sexual violence. It has led to calls for public protests as seen in India and forced South Africans to confront the question: what can be done?
Tougher law enforcement has been one inevitable answer. The front page of South Africa’s Times newspaper on Wednesday reported that police in Limpopo province are forcing all rape suspects to undergo HIV testing, with those who test positive to be be charged with attempted murder as well as rape.
“This is going to give police more ammunition to fight the scourge of rape,” spokesman brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told the paper. “From now on we will take every possible legal avenue to ensure heavier sentences, especially in cases where the suspect was aware of his HIV status.”
But the solution has proved contentious. While South Africa‘s Sexual Offences Act allows police to ask a magistrate to order an HIV test of a rape suspect, the move by Limpopo police is yet to be tested in court.
Rachel Jewkes, acting director of the South African Medical Research Council, said four in five rapists are HIV-negative and questioned why the charge of attempted murder is required. “If a person is properly convicted of rape, the mandatory sentence is 15 years,” she told the paper.
Some 56,272 rapes were recorded in 2010-11, an average of 154 a day and more than double India’s rate.