We know the countless names and faces of women who were brutally assaulted and killed by their partners, loved ones and even strangers.
The most horrifying cases of murder and rape make headlines every day – one woman’s experience more harrowing than the next.
The faces and names of the murderers, rapists and sexual assault perpetrators, however, are less known and publicised.
These ferocious criminals get a free pass in many ways when the media does not reveal their identity due to some prescripts of the law.
This Women’s Month, City Press reveals their faces and honours the women killed at these perpetrators’ hands by sharing their stories.
There is a danger that witnesses’ and victims’ evidence will never be heard and that, unexposed, perpetrators will become repeat offenders.
In a recent editorial, City Press wrote:
“Despite the escalating crime levels in South Africa, we still hope every year that August (and the rest of the year) will pass without many heinous incidents of gender-based violence. And every August, when we are supposed to be on our toes, so to speak, we are proven tragically wrong.”
However, the reality was that the month had not even begun, and the country woke up to the news of eight women being gang raped in Krugersdorp while filming a music video at a mine dump.
There is not a speck of hope of the abuse abating as all indications show that femicide and gender-based violence are on the rise.
There is a war against women in South Africa and those in power are leading the charge often through their ignorance, the perpetuation of stereotypes and neglecting their duties to keep women and children safe.
Police Minister Bheki Cele perpetuated rape culture when he said a 19-year-old woman who was raped along with seven other women in Krugersdorp West Village was “lucky, if it is lucky” to have been raped by one man, as opposed to several men.
In 2021, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said educated men do not rape.
She was addressing pupils at the start of the school year when they quickly corrected her. The minister later released a statement and apologised.
Rape culture is everywhere and, if unchecked, sends a distressing message to survivors of gender-based violence.
There are very few indications that femicide and gender-based violence are abating in South Africa.
The latest quarterly crime statistics show that contact crimes rose by 15% – these include assault and sexual offences. Violent crimes against women, including murder and assault, also recorded double-digit growth.
The police revealed that 6 083 people were murdered during the first quarter of 2022 (up 22%) – that’s 68 people a day – the highest number recorded over this period in the past five years.
READ: SA's murder rate soars
Sexual offences increased by 13.7%.
This begs the question: where are the arrests, the convictions and the jail times?
Join the #ShowHisFace campaign by sharing the stories of victims and survivors as we honour them this Women’s Month.