Most women are attacked by men they know - Zuma

2016-11-25 22:21

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma says most violence experienced by women and children is at the hands of men known to them.

"Violence against women and children manifests itself openly in serious crimes such as murder, sexual assault, domestic violence, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm or human trafficking," he said in a speech.

"What is of serious concern is that most women are attacked by men they know and in most cases men they are intimate with - their husbands or partners. We are losing more and more women at the hands of their violent intimate partners."

Zuma was speaking during the launch of National Dialogues on Violence against Women and Children.

He said international studies showed that women often turn a blind eye to the violence in their intimate relationships or sometimes prefer to live in denial or disbelief.

"They also live in hope that the perpetrator will change and stop their behaviour. The danger about living in an unattended violent relationship is that it intensifies over time until it leads to death. Violence against women has been declared a priority crime by government. Women must not be scared to report the perpetrators to the police," he said.

'Enough is enough'

Zuma reminded the audience of a recent incident in Cape Town where a 13-year-old girl was raped by a gang of 10 men in Nyanga. He said it was difficult to comprehend how adults could do that to a child.

"It is beyond comprehension that adult men can inflict such pain on a defenceless child. Other children are sexually molested at home by relatives in some cases. These are the types of incidents that should unite us all to say enough is enough," he said.

"There are also cases of the abuse of girls in schools by teachers, some of whom even fall pregnant. This conduct must not be tolerated. Statutory rape must be reported to the police as it is a serious crime against children."

Zuma called on South Africans to stand up and report incidents of abuse to ensure that it is brought to an end.

"Importantly, violence against women and children is not a private matter. It is everybody's business. Neighbours must not keep quiet when they see or hear women or children being attacked or abused. Some families take a decision to hide the abuse of children to avoid embarrassment. These incidents must be reported to the police and social workers. Children deserve justice and protection," he said.

Zuma also called on police to ensure that stations are conducive to women reporting incidents of abuse. He said officers must treat women with sensitivity when they come to report cases of abuse or violence.

"A conducive environment is being created at many police stations. The police family violence, child protection and sexual offences units were re-established in June 2010. Members of the units receive specialised training to deal effectively with sexual offence-related cases," he said.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  gender rights

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