HomeBase Metals"Violence against women has become more than a national crisis"

“Violence against women has become more than a national crisis”

This quote from President Cyril Ramaphosa highlights one of several violence related pitfalls of South African society. He was speaking earlier this year at the launch of the Gender Based Violence Fund.

“Gender-based violence and femicide impacts us all and requires collective action. Gender-based violence has social, psychological, financial, health, educational, political and security effects, to name but a few. Its effects are insidious, extreme, inter-generational and long-lasting; not just on victims and survivors but also on society,” he lamented.

He also acknowledged contributions to the fund from Anglo-American (R30 million), ABSA (R20 million) and the Ford Foundation (R20 million). More recently, Exxaro has announced that in honour of Women’s month it has contributed R3.5 million to the Fund. Earlier this year, Exxaro’s efforts in the fight against GBV were recognised by the global community when the company was included in the Bloomberg 2021 Gender-Equality Index (GEI). The GEI brings transparency to gender-related practices and policies at publicly-listed companies, increasing the breadth of environmental, social, governance (ESG) data available to investors.

The private sector is leading the Gender Based Violence Response Fund, with the International Women’s Forum South Africa playing the leading role in its establishment. The organisation has proposed that the GBVF Fund should work based on similar principles as the Solidarity Fund in terms of governance and disbursement of funds. Nolitha Fakude, vice-president and chair of the Women in Mining Forum and president of the Minerals Council has pledged the mining industry’s support for the GBVF Response Fund, noting that it will complement what many member companies are already doing.

SaferSpaces has highlighted South Africa has particularly high rates of gender-based violence, including violence against women and girls and violence against LGBT people.

Population-based surveys show very high levels of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence (SV) in particular, with intimate partner violence being the most common form of violence against women.

Uncomfortable introspection

  • Whilst people of all genders perpetrate and experience intimate partner and or sexual violence, men are most often the perpetrators and women and children the victims.
  • More than half of all the women murdered (56%) in 2009 were killed by an intimate male partner.
  • Between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual and/or physical IPV in their lifetime.
  • Just under 50% of women report having ever experienced emotional or economic abuse at the hands of their intimate partners in their lifetime.
  • Prevalence estimates of rape in South Africa range between 12% and 28% of women ever reporting being raped in their lifetime.
  • Between 28 and 37% of adult men report having raped a woman.
  • Non-partner SV is particularly common, but reporting to police is very low. One study found that one in 13 women in Gauteng had reported non-partner rape, and only one in 25 rapes had been reported to the police.
  • South Africa also faces a high prevalence of gang rape.
  • Most men who rape do so for the first time as teenagers and almost all men who ever rape do so by their mid-20s.
  • There is limited research into rape targeting women who have sex with women. One study across four southern African countries, including South Africa, found that 31.1% of women reported having experienced forced sex.
  • Male victims of rape are another under-studied group. One survey in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape found that 9.6% of men reported having experienced sexual victimisation by another man.