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Gender based violence at an all time high

On an average day in South Africa, three women will die at the hands of her intimate partner. This single act of violence will alter the course of so many lives; the children, the families, the perpetrator and the victim whose death was entirely avoidable.

Violence against women cuts across all socio-economic and demographic classes; “Every women is at risk; we cannot sit back and celebrate Women’s Month when every 17 seconds a women is raped in South Africa, when 40% of South African men admit to hitting their partner, when reports come in daily of a women who has been murdered at the hands of the person she trusted most,” Director of the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children, Shaheema McLeod said.

“Gender based violence in South Africa is far too pervasive. South Africa has some of the toughest laws on domestic abuse in the world, however it is a country marred by high levels of inequality and violence against women. Only three percent of domestic violence perpetrators are convicted; there is something very wrong with that picture,” McLeod said.

Situated on the Cape Flats, an area with one of the highest crime and unemployment rates in Cape Town, the Saartjie Baartman Centre offers services such as crisis response, counselling, job skills training and legal advice to women and children who have become victims of abuse. Their onsite emergency shelter houses an average of 100 women and children at a time.

Over the past few years, the Centre has seen a 65% increase in women and children requiring assistance from the Centre. “The challenge to give South African women equal rights and basic security is enormous. The problem with abuse is that it so imbedded in South African culture and perceived gender roles. Tension is further fuelled by high levels of substance and alcohol abuse, the effects of which violently plays itself out behind closed doors.”

* Research and stats sourced from the Medical Research Council, police statistics on domestic violence and an ITV report on domestic violence in South Africa.

ENDS

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Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:

Beverley Houston

beverleyhouston@be-cause.co.za

021 447 1082 / 082 824 8617

On behalf of the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children:

Director: Shaheema McLeod

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