In South Africa, one in five women has experienced physical violence by a partner, that’s according to the Social Policy Network. In addition, government’s Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Command Centre reported more than 120 000 cases of GBV in the first three weeks of the national lockdown that was implemented in March last year.
These statistics reveal the grim reality of how GBVF is a far worse pandemic than COVID-19 in this country. And unfortunately, says Joanne Laskey, a clinical psychologist practicing in the COPE Therapy team at Akeso Stepping Stones mental health facility, an abusive partner is unlikely to change.
“In most circumstances, your only option for selfpreservation is to get out of the situation before it is too late, as the deeply disturbing rates of gender-based violence and femicide in our country demonstrate all too clearly,” she says.