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Funeral held for gang rape victim in South Africa
Xinhua | February 10, 2013 11:17
By Agencies
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A funeral was held on Saturday in Bredasdorp, 80 miles (about 128 km) east of Cape Town to morn the death of a teenage girl who was gang raped and mutilated in a crime that shocked the nation.

The funeral took place at the place where 17-year-old Anene Booysen was allegedly raped by a group of men and mutilated on Feb. 2. The following morning she was found, still alive, by a security guard, but died on the same day.

Hundreds of people, including government officials and union leaders, attended the funeral that was broadcast live on several TV channels.

The body of Booysen was buried in a white coffin adorned with flowers as family members openly wept during the funeral service.

Three men have been arrested in relation to the crime. They will appear in court next Wednesday.

The brutal crime has drawn condemnation from President Jacob Zuma and senior government officials who vowed to curb the rising scourge of crime against women in South Africa.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also expressed her shock and deep sadness at the atrocious rape, mutilation and murder of Booysen.

Pillay urged a more comprehensive approach to tackling the "pandemic of sexual violence" affecting tens of thousands of women every year in South Africa.

South Africa has the highest rate of rape reported to the police anywhere in the world. In 2012, the number of rapes documented by the police rose to over 64,000, or 175 per day.

These figures are believed to considerably underestimate the true number of rapes, as many cases go unreported.

A survey released in June by the Medical Research Council of South Africa found that 28 percent of men surveyed had raped a woman or girl, and one in 20 said they had raped a woman or girl in the past year.

However, arrest and conviction rates of rape perpetrators remain extremely low.

"This is not only a shocking denial of justice for the thousands of victims, but also a factor that has contributed to the normalization of rape and violence against women in South African society," Pillay said.

"Violence against women is not only a human rights violation, it is also a brutal manifestation of wider discrimination against women, which is to be understood against the background of subordination of women within the patriarchal system that still exists in South Africa," Pillay said.

"South Africa's Constitutional Court has emphasized that there is an obligation on the State to protect women against violence."

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