Community vows to end the violence

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bredasdorp feb 14 CAPE ARGUS A wreath marks the spot where Anene Booysen was found. Picture: Tracey Adams

Bredasdorp - The Cape Agulhas municipality has pledged to stop violence in its community following the rape and murder of teenager Anene Booysen.

Police, trauma councillors and community leaders gathered at a hall in Bredasdorp on Thursday to share their stories.

The municipality’s Anneleen Vorster said violence would no longer be tolerated in the community.

She said the municipality also wanted to send the message that it was okay to talk about rape.

“There is a stigma attached to rape. This campaign is not only because of Anene. One out of four women is raped in South Africa. Look around you… there are those who are hurt but don’t have the courage to come forward and talk about it.

“We, as a community, support you and want this pledge to spread.”

The municipality handed out pamphlets with a pledge to be violence-free, to never commit or condone crime, to report all known and suspected incidents of violence, and to teach children self-esteem and self-worth.

Sophia Europa, a mother and grandmother, stood up and told her daughter’s story.

“A few months ago my 29-year-old daughter was abused by her 41-year-old boyfriend.

“They were dating for four months and he was abusive, I encouraged her to leave him. One evening, a friend of hers called to say she heard shouts and screams coming from her place.”

Europa said she was shocked to see her daughter upon arriving at her home.

“Her skin was peeling and there were slashes all over her face.

She held up posters of her daughter’s scarred face.

“The boyfriend said if he couldn’t have her, no one else could have her.

“My five-year-old granddaughter witnessed it and is still traumatised and receiving treatment,” she said.

Europa said the visible scars were healing, but that her daughter was still in a lot of pain.

Malvern de Bruyn, a facilitator for the Department of Community Safety, said violence could be stopped through knowledge and power.

“Ending violence against women and children is one of my key objectives. In 2006, a six-year-old girl was lured away from home by a friend of her father… she was raped, stabbed and set alight. She survived the incident, but in 2010 she died in a taxi crash.”

Resident Pof Louw said:

“I am lucky that my family and I have never been affected by violence, but I’m here today to talk from a man’s point of view. There are men who respect you (women) and think that you are wonderful,” he said tearfully.

Almost two weeks ago, 17-year-old Booysen was gang-raped and disembowelled after visiting a club. She was found, barely alive, at the construction site where she worked, not far from her home. She died in hospital the next day.

Booysen’s rape was condemned by all sectors of society.

Three men were arrested, and one was later released due to lack of evidence. Johannes Kana, 21, and Jonathan Davids, 22, were charged with Booysen’s rape and murder.

They are due to return to the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s Court on February 26.

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