Women under siege: What can be done to fix SA govt's response to GBV? We want to hear from you

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Students clash with police as they try to storm the Cape Town International Convention Centre following the rape and murder of 19-year-old University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana in 2019.
Students clash with police as they try to storm the Cape Town International Convention Centre following the rape and murder of 19-year-old University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana in 2019.
(Photo by Gallo Images/Netwerk24/Jaco Marais)

Every year around this time, a chorus of South African women lament why Women's Day is no cause for celebration in this country.

And every year, politicians make big promises to tackle the scourge of gender-based violence and structural inequalities which force some women into a life of poverty and oppression on the margins of society.

In South Africa, women and girls are not safe. The horrific gang-rape of eight young women in Krugersdorp last month is just one of the countless cases that illustrate this.

ANALYSIS | Amanda Gouws: Rape is endemic in SA. Why the ANC government keeps missing the mark

Not a week goes by without reading a news headline about a woman, girl or baby being raped, or a mother, wife or ex-girlfriend who has been abused or brutally killed.

With one of the highest rape statistics in the world, South Africa's government and law enforcement agencies have been blamed for failing to protect women from sexual violence at the hands of vile men who feel entitled to their bodies. And compared to the number of rapes reported each year, convictions seem few and far between.

READ | 'I feel like my trauma was belittled': Cape Town woman says cops didn't take GBV claims seriously

On top of the country's GBV epidemic, women must survive chronic socio-economic inequalities, a failing criminal justice system, and constrained access to reproductive healthcare, among many other systemic setbacks.

What can the government do to combat the deep problems affecting women and girls in this country?

What should be done to turn things around? We want to hear your views in the comment section below.


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