Femicide, according to the UN agency and South Africa’s statistical agency is, the intentional killing of women because they are female or because of their gender roles. South Africa declares femicide a national crisis. This occurs after a new government report that a woman is murdered every three hours. Women in South Africa do not feel safe. Gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa is on the rise. These perpetrators rob, assault, and rape women before putting them to their death.
In most cases, the perpetrators dispose of their bodies in the bushes or shallow grave. Some bodies recovered, burnt beyond recognition. Surprisingly, the murder rate for South African men is relatively high.
Her life matters too.
“It’s been decades women suffer from brutal violation day in, day out, every second of every minute. The question lingering in my mind is, Am I next? Or is my daughter safe? It’s living in fear,” said Lesedi.
The violence in the country now resembles a war against its women. Women in South Africa have no peace. The recent crime statistics issued by the Department of Police show the intensity of this crisis. Approximately 3000 women were brutally put to death between April 2018 to March 2019. The report renders that seven women are killed every day in South Africa.
Among these cases include Gomolemo Legae, an 18-year-old girl stubbed severally and burnt by a 19-year-old man. Leighandre 25-year-old boxer and Karate champion shot 30 times by her boyfriend, a police officer. Precious Ramabulana 21-year-old college student stabbed 52 times by a 28-year-old man who also raped her. Uyinene, a 19-year-old girl raped and killed by a man. The list goes on and on.
“Enough is enough, a lot has been said, but still there is no change. Isn’t our safety your business?” women lament.
Root Cause of Femicide.
Mbuyiselo Botha, a gender violence expert and member of the Commission for Gender Equality, explains that women feel the police have no idea what domestic violence is or the sexual Offences act.
Most of these cases happen as a result of domestic violence. Domestic violence occurs not only in households but also in romantic relationships between young people. The death of women, especially in their most productive ages between 18- 30. These are women who were raped and killed by their partners, men who cannot take no for an answer or even strangers.
In some cases, due to the financial dependency of the woman to the man. Economic dependence makes a woman vulnerable to violence, which eventually escalates to death. Women, especially those who are financially dependent on marriages, are susceptible to domination and abuse. The woman is afraid to leave due to the financial support she gets from her husband. These do not exhaust all the causes but are among the trending reasons not only in South Africa but in most African countries.
Fight Against Femicide.
Men and Women and marched on Sandton Street in Johannesburg in September 2019. They sang and chanted slogans protesting against Gender-based violence that seemed to be out of control. Despite the scorching sun women, and men matched tirelessly in grief, demanding the government to do something about the issue.
The women appealed to the government and the private sectors to offer monetary support to fight this menace. President Cyril Ramaphosa recently called for a crucial joint parliament session to find a solution to Violence Against Women. The solutions presented after the meeting include setting up a $68 million fund to support programs like capacity building. Beefing up the criminal justice system to arrest perpetrators of Gender-Based Violence as well as boost forensics. Improving and better implementation of legal and policy frameworks revolving around GBV and Sexual offenses. The government also intends to invest in women’s economic empowerment so that women are more financially dependent.
“Those found guilty of GBV crimes will not be entitled to parole. If the perpetrator receives a life sentence, this must be just what it means, life in prison.” Ramaphosa said.
Women insist that whatever it is the government intends to do, it should be done very fast before they all become a rape or murder statistic. Adding that its a very crucial matter, and an immediate response is needed as the lives of women are at stake.