Sixteen days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children was launched this month to garner awareness around issues relating to a number of violations faced daily in communities.
And while this worldwide campaign was rightly adopted by South Africa in 1998, we need to ask the question: how much more could be done? A lesson in self-worth and respect for others from a very young age is key.
Support group Rape Crisis says: “Even though the campaign promotes non-violence, the harsh reality is that rape and violence against women are deeply woven into the fabric of South African society.
“During the next 16 days, over 400 people will be sexually assaulted in the Western Cape. Most of the victims will have children, brothers and sisters, parents, even partners, who will also be traumatised by the attack on their loved one.
“In fact, rape is the leading cause of post-traumatic stress related symptoms, over and above all other types of violence.”
Rape Crisis has called for donations to be made for more skilled and highly trained counsellors at the centre to support rape survivors and their families “on the long road to recovery and justice”.
A study by the Medical Research Council entitled “Understanding men’s health and use of violence: interface of rape and HIV in South Africa” has established that men who rape are more often physically violent towards their partners.
“Nearly half of the men who raped (46.3%) said they had raped more than one woman or girl. In all, 23.2% of men said they had raped two to three women, 8.4% had raped four to five women, 7.1% said they had raped six to 10 and 7.7% said they had raped more than 10 women or girls.”
Their ages when committing the crimes? A staggering 9.8% were under 10 years old, 16.4% were 10-14 years old, 46.5% were 15-19 years old, 18.6% were 20-24 years old, 6.9% were 25-29 years and 1.9% were 30 or older.
Education on gender equality needs to happen in households – that’s the solution to a non-sexist and non-violent society