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Johannesburg - South African media on Friday reacted with anger over the alleged gang rape, murder, and mutilation of Bredasdorp teenager Anene Booysen.
Primedia Broadcasting’s four radio stations - 94.5 KFM, 567 CapeTalk, 702 Talk Radio and 94.7 Highveld Stereo - will interrupt their broadcasts on Friday from 6am to 6pm with a beep every four minutes.
The frequency of the interruptions is designed to symbolise the rate at which rapes occur in South Africa and ensure that the problem is kept at the forefront of listeners’ minds.
It is part of a campaign for harsher sentences for rapists, better access to help and treatment for rape victims and public responsibility in blowing the whistle on rapists.
“We urge the public to stand up and do the right thing,” said CapeTalk’s station manager, Colleen Louw.
On the front page of The Star, editor Makhudu Sefara called for citizens to stand up against rape.
“We abhor all forms of sexual assault on any person, young or old, and we have consistently shone a light on this scourge where we have found it...”
Sefara said the only way to combat the crime was by providing prosecutors with evidence, so rapists could be removed from society.
“Today, together with our partners in LeadSA, we repeat that call. Stand up. Speak out. Help us turn this evil around once and for all.”
He said LeadSA, an initiative by Independent Newspapers and Primedia Broadcasting, decided to use its influence to mobilise society in the wake of Booysen's ordeal.
The newspaper ran a feature on self-defence for women.
The Citizen published an editorial calling for South Africans to take collective responsibility in the fight against sexual crimes.
“Somehow, somewhere there must be a tipping point where society is so convulsed by a collective anger over rape that we begin to turn the tide against this terrible scourge.”
Given the ubiquity of rape in South Africa, the editorial argued, this tipping point should have come long ago. Rape would not cease if society ignored it.
“Each of us needs to ask what we can do to stop this awful trend. And then we must act accordingly. You can help.”
The New Age printed a full page poster on page 11, reading “Enough is enough!”.
The words “Stop sexual abuse” were arranged into a word cloud in the shape of the hand signal used by traffic police, meaning “stop”.
Beneath this was the slogan: “Respect women. Respect your nation”.
Booysen was allegedly raped, mutilated and left for dead at a construction site near her Bredasdorp home after visiting a sports bar on Friday night. She died in hospital from her injuries on Saturday afternoon.
Before she died, Booysen identified one of her attackers as her former boyfriend. According to the Argus, a 22-year-old man appeared in Bredasdorp Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on charges of rape and murder.
A second suspect, 21, was expected to appear in the same court later on Friday.
To stay informed, follow @lead_sa on Twitter #stoprape or visit www.leadsa.co.za