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Johannesburg - Everyone has a responsibility to report any rape or sexual assault of women and children, the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR) said on Monday.
“Although the government has a duty to act, the Constitution places an obligation on everyone to respect the dignity and freedom of others Äranging from wider society, to within one's own home,” said CFCR director Johan Kruger.
“This means not committing these crimes in the first place,” he said.
“It also means a duty to report such crimes to the (SA Police Service) and to demand that our authorities take effective action to protect our women and children.”
Kruger said traditional leaders, politicians and teachers had a duty to make it clear that rape was not only illegal, but also unacceptable in terms of traditional culture and values.
“Acts of sexual violence are gross human rights violations. They cannot be condoned for any reason and may no longer be obscured by a culture of silence and impunity,” he said.
Kruger said the CFCR lamented the recent rape and murder of Anene Booysen in Bredasdorp, but also every other act of sexual violence, reported and unreported.
Almost two weeks ago, 17-year-old Booysen was gang-raped and disembowelled after visiting a club. She was found, barely alive, at the Asla construction site where she worked, not far from her RDP home, but died later in hospital.
Three men were arrested, but one was later released due to lack of evidence.
Booysen's rape was condemned by all sectors of society.
One of the men, a 21-year-old, appeared in the Bredasdorp Magistrate's Court on Monday, with a towel covering his face.
His case was rolled over until Tuesday, when he will appear with his alleged accomplice, 22-year-old. Both are in custody.
National Prosecuting Authority Western Cape spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said the case would eventually reach the high court, where stiffer sentences are imposed.
African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Cheryllyn Dudley said it was time for action against rapists.
“We are way past the time for more awareness campaigns and talking about rape - this must happen once the perpetrators are apprehended, sentenced and are facing the full and severe consequences of their crime,” she said. - Sapa