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Child Rape And Murder In South Africa - 2002-09-25

In South Africa, a 14-year-old boy is due in court this week charged with raping and murdering a baby girl. The incident comes just a few months after a man was sentenced to life in prison for raping and sodomizing a nine-month-old baby. That case triggered a public outcry over rape and abuse of women and children in South Africa.

Some blame the violence on the myth that having sex with a virgin child will cure a person of HIV/AIDS.

Kelly Hatfield is executive director of the group, “POWA,” which stands for People Opposed to Women’s Abuse. She says she is “very frustrated” by the lack of action to prosecute and imprison rapists. She says while the police and courts could do more, she says civil society must also do more to make sure these violent acts are not tolerated by the community.

She says POWA maintains that a rape occurs in South Africa every 26 seconds. The latest police statistics estimate the rate at one every ten minutes. Either way, she calls it “outrageous.” Ms. Hatfield supports the life sentence given in a child rape case, but she says it took months to “bring the perpetrator to book.”

Kelly Hatfield spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua. Click the above link to hear interview.