South Africa reaches tipping point on rape: The Church of England Newspaper, February 17, 2013, p. 6. March 15, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church of England Newspaper, Crime.
Tags: Anene Booyson, Jacob Zuma, Margaret Vertue, rape, Rubin Philip
The gang rape and murder of 17-year old Anene Booyson has galvanized South Africa, focusing attention on the county’s culture of rape.
On 2 Feb 2013 a security guard discovered the dying girl at a construction site close to her home in the rural town of Bredasdorp in the Western Cape. Before she died, the girl was able to identify one of her three attackers – a family friend.
According to United Nations statistical reports, Southern Africa (South Africa and Lesotho) lead the world in incidents per capita per rape. The Crime Report 2010/11 published by the South African Police Services stated 66,196 rapes had been reported to the police – however, women’s rights activists claim the number of rapes could be eight times higher as most women do not report to police.
However, the rape of Anene Booyson may have “become a tipping point” for South Africa, said Albert Fritz the Western Cape provincial minister of social development, that leads to change.
President Jacob Zuma denounced the crime saying: “The whole nation is outraged at this extreme violation and destruction of a young human life,” he said. “This act is shocking, cruel and most inhumane. It has no place in our country. We must never allow ourselves to get used to these acts of base criminality to our women and children.”
The president called on the courts to “impose the harshest sentences on such crimes, as part of a concerted campaign to end this scourge in our society.”
The Bishop of False Bay, the Rt. Rev. Margaret Vertue, paid a pastoral call on the dead girl’s family after preaching in the Anglican Church in Bredasdorp on 10 Feb 2013. “Anene is the victim of the social ills and loss of moral values of our society,” the bishop said, adding that what “happened to Anene and others who have died a violent death is a symptom of brooded evil.”
The Dean of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA), Bishop Rubin Philip of Natal stated: “Anene Booysen is a name on the lips of almost every South African this week. She has become the visible image of a deathly scourge that haunts us all – the scourge of rape. As happens more and more frequently, Anene’s rape was accompanied by extraordinary levels of violence.”
“Anene has been robbed of her life. Her mother has been robbed of a child. But it is not only Anene who has died brutally this week. The hope of our rainbow nation dies, agonising cry by agonising cry, every time a woman is raped – approximately 3500 times a day. How is it that the dream nation has become the rape capital of the world,” Bishop Philip asked.
The leaders of ACSA had called upon all Anglicans to “use the season of Lent to recognise that every time we fail to act against gender based violence, we are complicit in its perpetration. Anglican churches are being requested to light a candle on Wednesday in memory of Anene and all women who have suffered the violence of rape. Male members are being asked to declare ‘not in my name. This violence may not continue’,” the bishop said.