BLACK VALENTINE TO MOURN RAPE
By: Siyabulela Dzanibe
The blood of the raped and brutally Anene Booysen, has drawn on the hearts of the nation and the world on this year’s Valentines Day.
Booysen, 17, had her intestines ripped off her stomach when she was gang raped 14 days before Valentine’s Day. Her incident has startled the country and other parts of the world, causing anxiety for the public, religious and anti-women and child abuse organizations to rally against the trend.
The Diakonia Council of Churches in support of the One Billion Rising Campaign, a global initiative against gender abuse found by American Writer, Eve Ensler, gathered outside the Durban Magistrate’s Court on ‘V Day’ to hand over their list of suggestions to rise against women and child abuse.
The statement of suggestions was handed over to Senior Prosecutor, Val Melis, in charge of the prosecution of sexual offences and domestic violence in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Some of the requirements to be considered by the authorities in the list is that “(people) refrain from discriminating against applicants on account of cultural, age, religious and customary practise bias; providing information and support to applicant in laying appropriate criminal charge; sentencing should include an order for therapeutic intervention in respect of Domestic Violence and other forms of abuse; and to improve case management between court system, police and health sector”.
Durban courts’ court rolls alone are piled up with ‘approximately 330 rape cases’ and many of those cases are of child rapes, while Umlazi Township court, near Durban, alone counts nearly 200 cases.
“I personally, am interviewing no fewer than 15 child victims in Durban, Chartsworth and Umlazi”, said Melis.
The news of Booysen may have dominated the headlines because of the bizarre manner she was treated as a rape and murder victim. While Reverend Ian Booth, on behalf of the Diakonia of Churches, agrees ‘it is good to have a name and face associated with a campaign’, he denies forgetting that there are other victims.
“We should not allow ourselves to forget that there are other victims. In fact, since the brutal rape and murder of Anene Booysen there have been at least two headlines per day regarding rape, sometimes accompanied by murder,” said Rev Booth.
“We should not forget that there are other families enduring the same trauma and heartache that Anene’s family is experiencing, they are just outside the public eye, and become statistic in scourge,” he added.
Noma Bhengu of the Women’s Manyano Methodist Church laments for a country without crime against women and children. She said, “Enough is enough with violence in communities” and pledged to speak out against the trend.
“The arm of the law must tighten up……, we will listen and we will speak out”, said Bhengu