Ramaphosa calls on men to do more to prevent gender-based violence, following staggering rape stats

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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has encouraged men to speak out do more to prevent gender-based violence.
  • He said the country was falling short in terms of violence against women and children. 
  • This comes after the latest quarterly crime statistics revealed staggering rape figures.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says men need to speak out and act against gender-based violence (GBV).

The president used his weekly newsletter on Monday to highlight the increase in child murders, rapes and domestic violence in South Africa, following Police Minister Bheki Cele's release of the second quarter crime statistics on Friday.

"These statistics are shameful. We are in the grip of a relentless war being waged on the bodies of women and children that, despite our best efforts, shows no signs of abating."

The crime statistics, for the period 1 July to 30 September 2021, revealed that 9 556 people were raped. Most of the victims were violated in their own homes by people they knew and trusted, the minister said.

IN NUMBERS | Murder and rape on the rise: SA's quarterly crime statistics

The figure represents an increase of 634 cases or 7.1% compared to the previous reporting period. The minister also reported that 400 of the rape cases were related to domestic violence. 

Police stations that recorded the most incidents were Temba police station in Gauteng, the Thohoyandou police station in Limpopo, the Eastern Cape's Lusikisiki police station and the Inanda police station in KwaZulu-Natal.

The president said that pledges to end GBV were made every year during the month of November ahead of the 16 Days of Activism Against Child Abuse.

He added that men were the main perpetrators of rape and domestic violence, and added that they were the ones should therefore raise awareness, speak and do more to prevent crimes against women.

"Because it is men who are the main perpetrators, it should be men taking the lead in speaking out and reporting gender-based violence, in raising awareness, in peer education and in prevention efforts," Ramaphosa said. 

Men in positions of authority in the education system should make schools and places of higher learning safe spaces for female pupils and students and should not abuse their positions of authority to demand sexual favours, he said.

In addition, he said men should play a role in raising their sons to exhibit healthy, positive masculinity that is respectful of women and children. 

"If each man gathers two men and the three pledge to never rape a woman, never lay a hand on a woman and hold each other accountable to this pledge, we can start to seriously tackle gender-based violence in our country," Ramaphosa added.

He said:

We have to prevent gender-based violence before it happens. I call on all South African men, young and old, city dwellers and rural dwellers, modernists and traditionalists, married and unmarried, to be part of the prevention efforts that are sorely needed in homes and in our communities.

According to Ramaphosa, the 2020 launch of the National Strategic Plan to stop GBV has seen several interventions in response to GBV, including legislative reform, support for survivors, the establishment of the GBVF Fund and the support of the network of Thuthuzela and Khuseleka Care Centres.

The police were also making progress by reducing DNA backlogs and through 134 GBV desks in police stations nationally.

READ | Crime Stats: Child murders increase by 31.7% year-on-year, sexual offences up

In terms of the latest crime statistics, there has also been a 31.7% increase in the murder of children. 

There were 6 163 murders between July and September - an increase of 1 056 (20.7%) from the same period last year.

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