Ritual murders, rape and domestic violence rampant in this community

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The high rate of domestic violence in Vhembe needs to be addressed.
The high rate of domestic violence in Vhembe needs to be addressed.

The Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP), a local organisation which offers an integrated range of prevention and support services to combat sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse said every month they record an average of 120 new cases of domestic violence.

In the past two months about five women in Vhembe have been killed in domestic violence incidents with the latest case being a 37-year-old from Muledzhi village, outside Tshilamba who was murdered over the weekend by her husband at their home.

The killings must stop

TVEP spokesperson Tshilidzi Masikhwa said that people in abusive relationships were often too ashamed to speak up and seek help, and feared being left alone.

“We usually encourage abused people to approach us as soon as possible as we believe that through communication we can save lives. Couples who are in abusive relationships should attend family counselling before it’s too late,” said Masikhwa.

Recently a group of women marched to the Vhembe District Municipality offices to plead with the district mayor Florence Radzilani to intervene and help put an end to the killings.

“Monthly we record over 120 cases of domestic violence. Most of the cases are women who are being physically, emotionally and verbally abused by their partners. The cases increase during the festive season,” said Masikhwa.

'We need to work together'

He said the organisation was also concerned about an increase in cases of ritual murders and rapes. He said TVEP received about 40 rape cases of rapes monthly and in recent months six cases of ritual killings had been reported in the district.

The latest ritual murder victim was Rirhandzu Manganyi (16) from Gumbani village who was found murdered with her eyes gouged out and her ears and skin on her forehead cut off.

“We need to work together as a nation to end the number of rapes which are being committed in our country,” said Masikhwa.

Limpopo police spokesperson Moatshe Ngoepe said more resources had been dedicated to fighting domestic violence and ritual killings in the province.

Image provided by iStock.

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