In South Africa:
- A woman is murdered every three hours.
- Femicide is 5x higher than the world’s average.
- ⅕ women reported being assaulted by their partner.
- Over 40,000 rape cases are reported every year- the survivors being predominantly female.
- There are at least 100 reported rapes a day.
- 3 women are killed every day by their partner.
Uyinene Mrwetyana’s rape and murder by Luyanda Botha in a post office last year has become a symbol of the casual violence women in South Africa experience and sparked protests all over the country. She is just one of many.
Nechama Brody (author of the book ‘Femicide in South Africa’) explains how toxic masculinity adds to the high femicide rate. When women threaten to leave, or a relationship is facing issues, men often do not know how to handle or talk about their emotions. If you look at the bigger picture, the patriarchal and misogynistic society we live in means men are taught women are their property. Women are not your property. We are people.
Brody told Litnet that, ‘ femicide is the product of a culture of violence, not just a product of misogyny.’ She explained how ‘violence is seen as a reasonable means to an end, or a means to achieve an end quickly.’ We must change this, along with how ‘men and women are perceived in society — and expand this discussion to integrate discussions around LGBTIQ people, rather than defining violence as happening on a binary of cisgender males and females. It’s a big discussion and will need to be fully intersectional, so that means including race, not only gender.’ She stresses the importance of understanding ‘femicide is not something that happens only when there is a big story in the news — but it is systemic, and it has been happening over a long period.’
We must fully understand the issue at hand so we can work towards the solution. To find out more, follow accounts like @keeptheenergy and @uyinenefoundation. If you can, donate to organisations like ActionAid.
Written by me