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Girl's mutilation murder, rape galvanizes South Africa

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The brutal murder of a 17-year-old Anene Booysen in the sleepy South African town of Bredasdorp has sparked a national outcry over violence against women. Anene was gang-raped, mutilated and left to die on a building site,

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) -  Discovered by security guards on the site, her injuries were so severe that her family asked that details about her murder not be released - until it was eventually learned that her stomach had been slit open down to her genitals.

Anene managed to identify one of her attackers before she died from her injuries at a local hospital.
 
Two suspects, 22-year-old Jonathan Davids and 21-year-old Johannes Kana covered their faces to hide from television cameras. The magistrate ordered the pair court to remain behind bars until Feb. 26 when their bail application will be heard. Both face a maximum life sentence if found guilty.

A third man arrested in connection with the incident was released due to a lack of evidence.

A crowd of 100 people protested outside the courthouse in Bredasdorp, carrying placards saying "Show no mercy to rapists" and "No bail to murderers." In addition, Booysen's brother told reporters that he knew one of the suspects. "He was a friend of mine, we went to school together, stayed in one house, we were like brothers," he said.

Hundreds of mourners, including politicians, packed a church in the town of Bredasdorp, while a tent was set up to accommodate those who couldn't fit inside.

The killing resonated with the gang rape of a student on a New Delhi bus last year. Both incidents have focused attention on South Africa's high rates of sex crime.

The Women's League of the ruling African National Congress is trying to mobilize the public into similar action to the protests against anti-female violence that took place in India after the New Delhi attack.

In a related case, police had arrested a Johannesburg pastor for luring a woman into his church and raping her.

South African President Jacob Zuma expressed shock and outrage, calling for the harshest possible sentences for the killers and a concerted campaign "to end this scourge in our society."

South Africa's Minister of Women Lulu Xingwana has called on Tuesday for the toughest possible to be imposed. "We are saying to the court today there must be no bail for these criminals and monsters.

"We expect the toughest and the harshest sentence that can act as a deterrent to other criminals that abuse and kill our women and children."

South Africa has the highest number of reported rapes per head of population of any Interpol member country, with more than 64,500 reported in 2011/2012.

A rape is said to be committed in South Africa every four minutes. However, even when suspects are caught, only 12 percent of cases end in conviction.

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