News / Africa

South Africa Pledges to Get Tough on Rape

South Africa Pledges to Get Tough on Rapei
X
March 06, 2013 11:53 AM
South Africa is often called the “rape capital of the world.” This year, as the world celebrates International Women’s Day, South Africans are mobilizing to end this horrifying trend. VOA's Anita Powell tells us why this year is different.
Anita Powell
South Africa is often called the “rape capital of the world.”  This year, as the world celebrates International Women’s Day, South Africans are mobilizing to end this horrifying trend.

In recent months, the outrage has grown.

These protesters are marching to protest the brutal killing of teenager Anene Booysen.  Anene was one of an estimated 64,000 girls and women who are raped every year in South Africa.

Her experience was horrifying.

She was raped and tortured in her hometown of Bredasdorp in the Western Cape this year.  Her attackers literally tore her small body apart.  She died shortly after in a local hospital.
 
Troy Martens, the spokeswoman for the Women’s League of the ruling African National Congress party says the brutality of the attack has galvanized the nation.
 
“I think we find ourselves in a very fortunate situation at this moment in rape advocacy and sexual violence advocacy.  Because there is so much public attention on it at the moment and there is a pub[lic] sentiment that something needs to be done and enough is enough, and the time for action is now,” said Martens.
 
President Jacob Zuma condemned the attack and called for action in his February State of the Nation Address.  Earlier this month, Zuma launched a national campaign that calls for schoolchildren to give a daily pledge not to commit rape or sexual violence.
 
On the streets of Johannesburg, a shocking number of passersby said they had seen the effects of rape firsthand.

“I know quite a few people who have actually considered doing rape, in my community,” a man stated.
 
Sthembiso Hlungwani said she had been sexually assaulted - though not raped - by a family friend.

“I felt dirty," she shared. "And I just wanted to die, and it made it worse when they didn’t believe me.  So I think a person who’s raped feels a million times worse than I did, and it’s not a good feeling, trust me, I know.  It hurts, and it haunts you, every day, every time.”

The Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre works with women who have been victims of abuse.  Acting director Nicky Vienings says the anti-rape pledge is a good start, but not enough.
 
“It’s fine to recite something but what does it mean?  What is the impact of rape, what does it mean for women?  And I think think essentially, living in a patriarchal society, rape is a systemic issue.  And until those things change and until we change what’s happening in education," noted Vienings. "I’m not sure the extent to which this issue of rape is going to be addressed.”

Vienings and other advocates say there are many other steps that need to be taken, including a strengthening of police and court systems.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid