- Cape Town (Reuters) -
of South African men, horrified by an apparent surge in the rape of baby
girls, joined women and children in a protest march in Cape Town on
- The crime-weary nation was still reeling from the alleged
rape of a nine-month-old girl by six men earlier this month, when it was
shocked by reports this weekend of the rape of another eight-month-old
- Sunday's march was to launch the start of a campaign
backed by the government to raise awareness on women and child abuse. South
Africa has one of the highest incidents of rape in the world.
- Patricia de Lille, a member of parliament with the Pan
Africanist Congress party told Reuters the recent incidence of rape of
infant girls was almost certainly linked to the myth that sex with a virgin
could cure the incurable disease AIDS.
- About 3,000 men marched through a Cape Town suburb to
join another estimated 1,000 women at a rally led by Social Development
Minister Zola Skweyiya and Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane.
- "It is very encouraging that men are finally getting
involved because the only way we will beat this is by finally getting men
and women together," said Pregs Govinder, a member of parliament of
the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
- Men marched waving several placards. Some read "Real
men don't abuse and rape" and "Respect our mothers and
- The eight-month-old baby was attacked on Friday night
after she was allegedly abducted from her parent's home. She was found
lying by the roadside by a passer-by who then took her to the
- Some 21,000 cases of child rape were reported to police
in the past year in South Africa.
- Government officials said they hoped the 16-day campaign
launched on Sunday would help break the silence around abuse by encouraging
communities, families to speak up and expose abusers.
- The case against the six men was postponed on Friday
until next month for further investigation after the accused made a brief
appearance in court in the north-western town of Upington.
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