Authorities at Bonteheuwel, Cape Town, South Africa are in shock over reports that an eight-month-old baby had been raped.
Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirmed Tuesday that a case of rape at Bonteheuwel Avenue in Bonteheuwel was reported on Saturday at about 2 pm.
“Our detectives are following up on all leads,” he said.
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“My level of nausea far out ways my disgust at this case. Our communities have lost absolute respect for themselves when an 8-month old baby is so violently assaulted,” said the City of Cape Town ward councillor Angus McKenzie, who was in tears when a family member graphically replayed what was alleged to have happened.
The local councillor has assured the family that he would “get social workers and support services in place.” He also promised that he would do whatever he could to ensure that the culprit is dealt with.
“I will fight bail for any individual arrested for this disgusting act and will ensure that with everything in my power that the heaviest and stiffest sentence is dealt to this individual.
“This young baby needs a united community to grow from this. We need to be in one voice, condemning this moral decay of our society in the strongest terms,” he said.
This is one of the sexual abuse cases that often make the rounds in South Africa. Last September, a man was arrested for allegedly raping a 17-year-old in a maternity ward shortly after she had given birth at a yet-to-be-identified hospital in the town of Mthatha.
Mthatha police spokesperson Captain Dineo Koena said the 30-year-old man posed as a doctor who was visiting the teen mum to do a post-natal check up on her after delivery.
That same period, a 20-year-old man allegedly raped a seven-year-old girl in a restaurant toilet.
Rape and violence against women have been an ongoing problem in South Africa, with children and teenagers being the worst affected.
Many attribute the types of rape they see in South Africa to those perpetrated during armed conflict, in terms of the degradation, ritual humiliation and the extent of injuries, such as mutilation, that are involved, according to reports by rapecrisis.org.za.
Researchers have found that South African women are raped and then murdered twelve times more every year than in the United States.
Police crime statistics released in September 2015 state that in 2014/2015 there were a total of 53 617 sexual offences reported to the South African Police Services (SAPS), translating into 147 cases per day.
There are so many other incidents of rape that go unreported due to reasons such as the fear of retaliation or intimidation by the perpetrator, the personal humiliation of being exposed as a victim of rape and the fact that many survivors lack access to services.
In May, 23-year-old Khensani Maseko, a student at Rhodes University in Germantown, South Africa was raped by another student.
She reported her assault in July and was scheduled to return to school on August 6 for the commencement of an investigation. She agreed to take time away from school to process the tragic event.
On August 3, she left an enigmatic message on her Instagram page that stated, “No-one deserves to be raped!”
She then took her life.
The alleged assailant was suspended from the university and an official investigation was launched to ascertain the events that unfolded before Maseko’s death.
Maseko’s passing ignited a flame in the fight for sexual violence against women in South Africa.
In August last year, women in various parts of South Africa took to the streets to protest the increasing levels of gender-based violence in the country.
Dubbed an ‘intersectional women’s march,’ the march organized by WomenProtestSA called on men to stop the abuse of women and children.
A report by The Trumpet states that one out of three South African girls will be raped before she turns 18, with women having a greater chance of being raped than of graduating from high school.
What is worrying is that out of those accused, only a few are convicted and protests against this inhumane act appear not to be loud enough.