Any solutions for violence against women?

Every year, from 25 November to 10 December the government highlights the problem of abuse with the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. 

It's certainly good to highlight the problem – although one wonders if violence against women and children actually goes down during this period – but as our CyberShrink asked me in a recent mail about chemical castration for rapists, "Why 16 days and not 41 or 365? The very title of the campaign implies that violence against women and children is just fine on the remaining 349 days of the year."

Do you agree with him, considering that a woman is raped every 36 seconds – let's say that again, every 36 seconds – in South Africa? And what do you think of chemical castration as a solution to the problem? 

This question has been thrown around for some time, and when the 16 days kicked off, North West Premier Thandi Modise (who was raped at 15), again called for it to be instated. 

Research shows that chemical castration can work if the full weight of law enforcement and the public health sector is thrown behind it, but that may be too much for South Africa to tackle just yet. Besides, isn't that an over-simplified solution when rape is, in a South African context, more a social problem and the perpetrator is mostly known to the victim?

Of course rape is not the only form of abuse. Just this morning I read the harrowing account of a user needing advice on how to deal with her alcoholic husband who, in front of the kids, hit her in the face when she didn't want to accompany him to a braai. Financial woes are keeping her trapped in the cycle of abuse, but she desperately wants to escape.

 It may sound as simple as "take your stuff, put the kids in the car and go". But something we often forget is that this could be downright dangerous. Read – and forward if you know someone who could benefit – psychologist Ilse Terblanche's brilliantly practical tips on how to safely leave an abusive partner.

If you're on Twitter, follow us @Health24.com where we'll post more on the topic of violence against women and children every day.

Have a peaceful week!

Laura

PS. Good news: This year the number of convicted sexual offenders on the National Register for Sex Offenders increased from 2 792 in March to 11 418 names in October 31. We're getting somewhere.
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