Gender-based violence has a long history in South Africa and, although it has always been a problem, it has recently attracted more attention. Since the start of apartheid in 1948, South Africa’s history has been one of disruptive oppression, prejudice and violence. These circumstances have made women and girls particularly vulnerable to abuse and violence, which has contributed to the current gender-based violence crisis.
One of the main reasons for gender-based violence in the country is South Africa’s long history of patriarchy and gender inequality. The National Party, the ruling party under apartheid, passed laws that discriminated against women and girls. These laws prohibited girls and women from engaging in activities such as owning property, schooling, and employment outside the home. There was a rise in gender-based violence due to the development of a power and authority system that allowed men to dominate women.
Gender-based violence persists in South Africa despite the end of apartheid in 1994, which signalled the beginning of a new era for the nation. Despite the passage of progressive legislation and the implementation of forward-looking policies to protect women and girls, the prevalence of gender-based violence is still quite high. 2019 saw the highest number of cases of gender-based violence ever reported in South Africa, with over 50,000 cases reported, according to the country’s statistics.
Gender-based violence in South Africa is influenced by a range of factors including poverty, inequality, lack of access to education and employment, and cultural norms that encourage violence against women. In South Africa, gender-based violence has many causes. In addition, survivors of gender-based violence often do not have access to services such as counselling and support, making it difficult for them to seek help and find somewhere safe.
A growing movement against gender-based violence has developed in South Africa in recent years. Institutions such as the Gender-Based Violence Command Center and the South African Police Service provide support and assistance to victims of this type of abuse while working to raise awareness of the issue of gender-based violence. The South African government has also passed a number of laws and policies aimed at defending the rights of women and young girls, including the Domestic Violence Act 1998 and the Sexual Offenses Act 2007.
Despite all these initiatives, gender oppression and violence against women remain major problems in South Africa. To put an end to gender-based violence and create a safe environment for all citizens, efforts must continue across the country. Only then will South Africa be able to move towards a future free of oppression and violent conflict.