Monday, May 17, 2010

South Africa / Sexual Violence against Females

South Africa's Shame: The Rise of Child Rape
By Rachel Shields
The Independent, May 16, 2010
Photo: Channel 4
"[...] Raped by two local teenagers, Ntombi suffered physical and mental wounds that were exacerbated by the treatment she received from the police and neighbours. Ostracised by friends in the large South African city of Port Elizabeth, many of whom believe that she should have kept quiet about the incident, Ntombi has since been threatened with further violence by her attackers, who were released on bail by police. ... While Ntombi's story is disturbing, in South Africa it is also commonplace. The country has the world's highest incidence of rape; a girl born there today has a one in three chance of finishing school, and a one in two chance of being raped. ... Like a third of the 200,000 children who are raped in South Africa every year, Fuzeka, 12, was attacked by a close relative. Staring straight ahead, she recounts how her father indecently assaulted her, and told her that when he slept with her he would use a condom as he is HIV positive. ... In order to get away from her father, Fuzeka's mother moved her and her younger sister into a tiny wooden shack with no electricity, running water nor toilet.
Like eight million South Africans, they are forced to live in a crowded, informal settlement. Some experts believe that such living conditions -- with children sharing rooms and beds with adults -- and high levels of drug and alcohol use are two factors facilitating the sexual abuse. Social attitudes towards sex are also thought to contribute to the high incidence of rape. 'For many men, sex is an entitlement, they've de-linked it from love and pro-creation; it has become about one's own gratification,' said Joan van Niekerk, a manager for Childline South Africa. The charity says that 80 per cent of the rape cases it deals with involve victims under 13. 'We need programmes for boys which celebrate masculinity from a point of view of protecting, caring, and managing appetites.' [...]"

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