By Heba Girgis
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
CAPE TOWN, South Africa—Today, Wednesday February 6, 2013, a 17-year-old South African girl died of injuries inflicted on her in a gang rape several days before. Her death stimulated outrage today in a country that has one of the world’s highest levels of sexual violence.
The young victim had been sliced open from her navel to her genitals and left on a building site in the town of Bredasdorp, about 130 kilometers east of the country’s capital. The victim was able to identify one of her attackers before she died as the hospital staff who fought to save her life also counseled her due to the horrific nature of her injuries.
In the hours after the attack, the young girl was taken to three different hospitals—the town’s Otto du Plessis hospital, then the main hospital in Worcester, and finally the Tygerberg hospital.
Troy Martens of the ANC Women’s League said, “It is difficult to find reason behind the many different acts of gang rape, child rape, rape of the elderly, corrective rape and male rape.” The South African police figures and records show that about 64,000 sexual offense cases were reported last year, and that many attacks still go unreported.
South Africa’s statistics agency concluded 13 years ago, in the year 2000, that it had the highest reported rape rate of all 120 Interpol member countries. The report also recognized that even when suspects are caught, only about 12 percent of cases end in a conviction. With these statistics comes the reality that sexual crimes rarely spark outrage; until today.
The death of this young girl has sparked outrage in South African and has been condemned by female politicians of the country’s governing party. Martens argued that the women’s league and the other few women’s non-governmental organizations would no longer be the “lone voices crying out against rape.”
Martens continued saying, “Men and women need to join hands around this issue and fight this epidemic together. The Women’s league and a few women’s NGOs can no longer be the lone voices crying out against rape.”
For further information, please see:
BBC News – South African Gang Rape Murder Angers ANC Women – 6 February 2013
IOL News – Girl, 17, Identifies Attacker Before Dying – 6 February 2013
Reuters – South African 17-Year-Old Dies of Gang Rape Injuries – 6 February 2013
Voice of America – South African Teen Dies of Gang Rape Injuries – 6 February 2013