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Cape Town - Woman and children should not have to face violence or rape anywhere in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.
“No woman or child should be beaten, raped, stabbed, shot or attacked in any manner anywhere in our country, whether by known or unknown attackers,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery at the launch of the Stop Rape Campaign at Glendale Secondary School in Mitchells Plain, Western Cape.
He said the ongoing abuse of women and children in South Africa was a critical problem facing the country.
“We have to build a more caring society in which the rights of all are respected, especially the rights of women and children,” Zuma said.
The campaign was being co-ordinated by the department of basic education and Lead SA.
Zuma said the campaign was to ensure that people came together to say these “horrendous attacks” had to stop.
Zuma said boys and men were also the victims of sexual assault.
“Importantly, we remind you that all cases of rape, sexual assault or any form of violence should be reported to the police,” he said.
Zuma said police and courts were empowered under the Domestic Violence Act, the Sexual Offences Act and Children's Act to arrest, prosecute and convict perpetrators of violence against women and children.
“Our fight has been further bolstered by the re-introduction of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units at the SA Police Service from 30 June last year,” he said.
“We urge you to use these units to report cases of violence or attacks. We have also taken a decision to re-open the Sexual Offences Courts.”
Zuma said the campaign was not just for women.
“It is everybody's campaign. It is also a campaign for all South Africans as this scourge affects all communities,” Zuma said.
“Together we must say that abusers, murderers and rapists should face the full might of the law. In addition, we must support the victims of sexual crimes as to rebuild their shattered lives.”
The campaign comes after a number of highly publicised rape and murder cases in South Africa.
On February 2, 17-year-old Anene Booysen was raped and murdered.
Booysen visited a Bredasdorp nightclub on Friday, February 1. A few hours later, she was gang raped and mutilated.
She was found at the construction site where she worked the next morning. She died in hospital later that day. - Sapa