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In South Africa, a brutal rape sparks unusual proposal

A controversial recommendation that arose in Limpopo Province would force men accused of rape to have an HIV test and charge them with attempted murder if they test positive.

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Police escort the two men accused of raping and murdering a teenage girl at the magistrate's court in Bredasdorp, South Africa, 80 miles east of Cape Town, February 12, 2013.

REUTERS

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The shocking rape and murder of a 17-year-old in South Africa has politicians and police searching for solutions. But a possible new policy in one province, proposing that rapists found to have the HIV virus be charged with murder, is going too far, say some analysts.

The young woman, Anene Booysens, was found in a construction site in Bredasdorp, about two hours southeast of Cape Town on Feb. 2. She had been gang-raped, viciously beaten, and disemboweled and died several hours later in a local hospital.

While South Africans are regularly confronted with violent killings – including that of Reeva Steenkamp, girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius – the sheer brutality of the attack on Ms. Booysens in a small town located in a picturesque countryside, has captured the nation’s attention. 

The attack comes on the heels of the heinous murder and gang-rape of a Indian student in New Delhi, which stirred headlines here as South Africans face their own high counts of incidences of sexual violence against women, including two other high profile gang-rapes last year. South African police statistics record more than 64,000 cases a year – more than seven an hour.

Within days of the Booysens rape, a full-force debate ensued over proposals to tackle South Africa’s brutal sexual violence.

A controversial recommendation that arose in Limpopo Province would force men accused of rape to have an HIV test and charge them with attempted murder if they test positive.

Police Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, a local official of the national police force, says the proposal is allowable under existing law and necessary.

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