India, South Africa and female gang rapes

On 16 December 2012 they struck in Delhi, on 1 February 2013, in Bredasdorp, a small town 200 KM away from Cape Town. Anene Booysan a teenager of 17, was found gang raped, body mutilated, disemboweled, throat slit, all fingers and both legs broken in the late hours of the day by a security guard on a construction site closer to her home. Though she was availed medical care immediately and transferred to three hospitals, by the afternoon of the next day, passed way after naming one of her assailants; her former boyfriend, Jonathan Davids, 23.

Next day, three suspects were arrested and brought to the magistrate court Bredasdorp including Jonathan. Bredasdorp is a rather poor community, Anene and her adopted mother were staying in a house the government provide for people of less income. Anene, who worked as a cleaner at the construction site, where she was left to die by her attackers, was a sweet girl according to her foster mother Corlia Olivier; with the money she had earned she had taken care of their family -mother and daughter. On the night of the incident, Anene had gone to the 'David’s Sport Bar & Pub, about six blocks from their home' and apparently was walking back from the pub when the incident happened

The incident sparked a nationwide outcry of no proportion.  What happened in Delhi, India has  inspired this.  According to Cape Times,  as reported in IOL,''South Africans, appalled by the growing number of rape cases, have called for large-scale demonstrations like those seen in India following the gang rape and murder of a student in New Delhi''

One thing, I have noticed about those demonstrations was that the South African people irrespective of their political, racial and cultural affiliations talked with one voice. They saw only a South African girl mutilated and brutally murdered.

According to Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa, “This act is shocking, cruel and most inhumane. It has no place in our country. We must never allow ourselves to get used to these acts of base criminality to our women and children.”He also called to “impose the harshest sentences on such crimes, as part of a concerted campaign to end this scourge in our society”. 

Hellen Zelle, the leader of the Democratic Alliances, an opposition party that rules Cape Town region, Bredasdrop forming a part of it, said,  the  nation has ''progressive laws to protect women and children, but that implementation was sorely lacking'.

Among those who raised their voice included Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU), African National Congress ( the ruling party) various Women's organizations, NGOs, youth organizations, prominent politicians, individuals and religious bodies..  

Yay Naidoo  a politician turned business man, in his plea to the nation made it a point that fighting against rape should be the joint responsibility of both men and women and no more of the women alone. 

South Africa, the last nation that gained freedom from colonial oppression, the apartheid in 1994, is still struggling hard to depart from its violent past. At the same time having one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, its legal system is mostly just and people friendly; its leaders are committed to making each and every person feel freedom and liberation in their own lives.

I have not come across any personal conversation, media talk or social media posting that questioned why was Anene outside her home in the early hours of the day when she was gang raped and  murdered.  Any person, irrespective of their gender or race should be able to go to any place as they wishes so; that is the kind of personal freedom, the  South Africans have accepted for themselves and for others.

It does not mean that, every thing is perfect here; with freedom comes responsibility; when you say, you have the freedom as an individual to do what you want to do, you should respect others freedom too.  For that, the choices you make should be the informed choices; that is somebody is not dictating their values; tradition or belief on you.  But between a young girl and a rapists, the rapist imposes his values on the girl, and how can we see this?  Rapists cannot be seen as normal human beings; law and order should be applied against them; first as a deterrent measure and then as a corrective measure.

Rape is not the only facet of the social absurd; all kinds of abuses and criminal behaviors form its parts.So eventually, the society itself plays a big role in making its members criminals and hence in decriminalizing them.  Economical, educational and psychological factors too play vital roles in it. So ideally, unless all these factors are developed, individual freedom in its absolute sense remains only an idea.  But that idea should be there as a polestar. South Africa has set that polestar; and so long as it is there; the hope of reaching there gets stronger and stronger.  

India and South Africa are two nations facing similar problems; and the two nations deal with them in their own ways. Being the two developing nations that have considerable say in the world politics and economy and having a growing number of problems to face, it is important that they both resolve their problems using the right means and ideals.



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  2. That sounds brutal. I hope the low lives who did this are brought to justice.

    It has slowly started dawning on us that many ordinary citizens have been too busy and too scared to interfere. The best way to overcome that is through uniting for a cause - any cause - just one cause, with other like minded people who live close to us and give it about one or two hours a week; that democracy works best when we find the time and courage to participate.

  3. Hi
    Kay thanks a lot for dropping by
    what u say is very true; even then south africa from my understanding is trying to move in the direction that you have suggested; people coming out to have discussions and conversations about their socio-feminist issues is happening; but in India even now people are inert; it is because they cannot evolve beyond their caste varna hierarchies.

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