Several recent high-profile news stories have once again put the focus on violence against women and children in South Africa.
In the most recent such case, the body of a 10-year-old autistic girl was found floating in the Moretele River in Mamelodi West. Katlego Joja had been missing for a few days before her body was found.
The cause of her death is still unknown, but some suspect she was kidnapped from her grandmother’s house and murdered.
Other names we know are those of Reeva Steenkamp, Amanda Tweyi, Karabo Mokoena, Zolile Khumalo, Siam Lee and Anene Booysen.
All of them have been murdered by men close to them.
But these are only the ones that make the headlines. There are many who don’t.
Last year, Sunnyside police arrested a 30-year-old man after he shot and killed a 26-year-old woman outside a Sunnyside nightclub. Another Pretoria woman, Dianne Rose Ayres’ mutilated body was found in the middle of the N1 highway near Stormvoël Toll Plaza.
“We have a national crisis,” said #NotInMyName spokesperson Themba Masango. “Our children go missing and turn up dead daily in South Africa.
“The police keep turning away our people when reporting their loved ones missing. Their incompetence coupled with a weak political will by our leaders is costing our nation its future.”
A 2009 study by the South African Medical Research Council showed that about 40 percent of men assault their partners daily.
It also revealed that each day, three women in South Africa are killed by their intimate partner.
One in 12 child homicides had evidence of sexual violence as part of the murder.
It showed a higher rate of sexual homicides in girls than boys.
Local human rights movement #NotInMyName has called on Pretorians to make a stand against all forms of abuse.
“We can’t be losing our sisters and innocent children because men are angry at the world,” said
local #NotInMyName spokesperson Siyabulela Jentile.
Jentile said the movement, which has organised marches in the capital since its formation last year, was meant to fight for the rights of all people – especially from vulnerable groups.
“The increase in sexual homicide cases in South Africa is an indictment of the gender inequality and social norms that continue to condone violence against women and children,” said the research council’s lead author professor Naeemah Abrahams.
“It is even more unacceptable that despite an overall decrease in female homicides, sexual homicides have increased.”
“Crimes against women and children and vulnerable groups will be treated as priority crimes,” police minister Bheki Cele promised recently.
“However, civil society and communities must stand as one together with the police to root out these crimes.”
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