Gender based violence on the rise in South Africa

by Siviwe Zibi

Femicide, rape and sexual assault are some of the topics that we hear about them daily on the news. South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of rape and murder of women and children. Every six hours, a woman is murdered by their intimate partner, every 18 seconds, a woman is raped in South Africa. According to People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), an average of 360 incidents of physical and sexual abuse against women and children takes place in South Africa daily.

A 50 -year- old man from Thohoyandou was sentenced to two life terms after he was found guilty of repeatedly raping his daughters for three years. Senzekile Siyolo from Thokoza was stabbed to death by her partner. Karabo Mokoena was killed and her body was burnt beyond recognition by her intimate partner. Her killing sparked outrage with women using the hashtag #MenAreTrash.

These stories come with the flare-up of societal outrage, protest, and collective introspection. South African women desire change. But nothing happens in a country marked by unusually high levels of rape and femicide. More needs to be done to address the issue of women abuse.

Being a woman today is fraught with danger. Violence against women and children are often underreported due to the victim’s fear. Women, please don’t think that he’s abusing you because it’s your fault, IT’S NOT. Don’t stay in an abusive relationship, get out and seek help. If you don’t want to open criminal cases at least try and obtain a protection order. Cases of gender-based violence should be prioritised because women still die in silence.

POWA once again is pleading with the members of the criminal justice system to take violence against women and children seriously, not trivialise it and apply the law to the latter to protect lives. “We also recommend that the suspects in domestic violence cases should not be given bail, based on the sensitivity of domestic violence’’. This does not only affect victims but the rest of the family members. Frequently, the suspect usually interferes with the state witness and family members committing more offence that could have been avoided.

If you are struggling with domestic violence or any form of abuse please reach out to the following organisation, POWA on 083 765 1235 or visit their website

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