Thousands Of South African
Men Protest Baby Rapes
By Brendan Boyle

Cape Town (Reuters) - Thousands 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 Sunday.
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 baby.
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 sisters".
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 police.
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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