Khensani Maseko

Student kills herself after rape, adding to outrage over sexual violence in South Africa

Updated 12:13 PM ET, Thu August 9, 2018

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(CNN)The death of a 23-year-old student, who killed herself two months after she alleged she was raped has renewed anger over sexual violence against women in South Africa.

Khensani Maseko, a student at the Rhodes University in Grahamstown, said she was raped by another student in May, according to a statement by the university.
On August 3, the day she took her own life, Maseko posted a cryptic message on social media.
"No one deserves to be raped," she wrote and posted on Instagram with a picture showing what is believed to be her date of birth and that day's date.
Maseko's account has since been removed from Instagram.
Rhodes University confirmed her death and said authorities held a meeting with Maseko's parents after she reported in July that she had been raped.
    The university says it was agreed that Maseko should be taken home pending an investigation into her allegations.
    The third-year student died a few days before her scheduled return to the university, where she was to meet with those investigating the case at the institution.
    The man accused of the rape has been suspended, the university said in the statement posted on its website, adding that it was working with South Africa's police and the National Prosecuting Authority to launch an inquest into Maseko's death.
    Police have not released the suspect's name.
    "The tragic passing of Khensani will not mark an end to the investigation into the circumstances leading up to her passing," Rhodes University Vice-Chancellor Dr. Sizwe Mabizela said.
    The university's flag will be flown at half-staff to honor Maseko, Mabizela added.
    There was a mass outpouring of grief from friends, family and the university community as the student was laid to rest in Johannesburg Thursday.
    Maseko's mother in an emotional tribute to her daughter, said her death has left a "gaping and bleeding hole" in her heart, local media reported.
      "Khensi‚ your tragic passing left a gaping and bleeding hole in my heart. You were my pride and joy from the moment I held you for the first time. I loved you with every fibre in me‚" Thembi Thobile Maseko said at the funeral.
      "You were my child and yet my little sister I never had. We had a wonderful life together. We shared the highs and the lows."

      Women killed at higher rate

      Statistics show sexual violence against women is a serious problem in South Africa.
      According to estimates released in June by the national statistical service of South Africa, 138 out of every 100,000 women in the country were raped in 2016 and 2017.
      "This figure is among the highest in the world. For this reason, some have labeled South Africa the 'rape capital of the world,'" it said.
      By comparison, the 2015 figures for the number of rapes in Switzerland was 6.4 cases per 100,000 women.
      Also, the country's rate of femicide — the killing of a woman or a girl because she is female -- is five times more than the global rate.

      TotalShutDown march

      Maseko's death has sparked public outrage in South Africa, where women often use social media to share images of women who have been killed by their partners.