South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa likened violence perpetrated by men against women on Monday to a second pandemic facing the country.
He urged men to unite and play a role in bringing an end Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
Ramaphosa said the latest crime statistics released by the South African Police Service (SAPS), showed an increase in rape, domestic violence, and, most worryingly, child murders.
Stats released Friday showed the number of rapes stood at 9,556, an increase of 634, or 7.1 percent, from July to September.
“Of the nearly 73,000 assault cases reported during this period, more than 13,000 were domestic violence-related. The rate of child murders has climbed by nearly a third compared to the previous reporting period,” Ramaphosa wrote in his weekly online column.
He said the statistics are shameful.
Ramaphosa said South Africa is in the grip of a relentless war being waged on the bodies of women and children. Despite the government’s best efforts, perpetrators show no sign of abating.
“We have said before that the violence perpetrated by men against women is the second pandemic that our country must confront, and like the COVID-19 pandemic it can be overcome if we all work together,” he wrote.
Ramaphosa said men are the main perpetrators of gender-based violence, including rape and domestic violence and they should take the lead in speaking out and reporting gender-based violence, raising awareness, peer education, and prevention efforts.
He said his government has devoted necessary resources to combat gender-based violence, including far-reaching legislative reforms, offering support to survivors through the provision of evidence kits at police stations and psycho-social services, among others.
“South African men need to play a greater role in preventing GBV. They need to understand what constitutes gender-based violence, especially sexual violence,” wrote Ramaphosa.
He called on men to respect their wives and girlfriends by understanding that being in an intimate partner relationship is never a justification for domestic violence.