As part of the 16 days of activism, the Nyanga Community Police Forum held a summit on Women’s Safety last week. The aim was to engage with young women about their rights protecting themselves from any form of abuse.
Although there are many forms of abuse, the most prominent are physical, emotional and physiological. Each of these affect a person’s ability to lead a normal life drastically as it affects the ability to communicate and develop connections with other people, lowers self-esteem and often results in a perpetual cycle.
According to the 2017/18 Crime Statistics released in September, the murder rate in South Africa increased by 6.9% and the number of women murdered increased by 11%. The statistics revealed that around 2930 women were murdered and 985 children.
Nyanga Community Police Forum secretary Dumisani Qwebe said the summit was a success with women between the ages of 13-25 in full attendance. One of the aims was for the policing forum to become aware of the social challenges the women face on a regular basis, by providing them an opportunity to voice their concerns openly.
[Photo Credit: Dumisani Qwebe]
Qwebe said many women “highlighted an anger management problem” within the household which leads to domestic violence.
As a result of the violence and abuse at home, Qwebe said the prevalence of drug addiction and alcoholism increases. It was even more prevalent in households where abuse of alcohol or drugs was already within the family or its occupants. Although Nyanga showed an average decrease in crime, drug related crimes increased by 607 cases, while alcohol related crimes increased by 22.
Qwebe added that women brought up issues of poverty and unemployment, having said this contributes to addiction problems. Not only is their addiction in households where abuse takes place, but the young girls expressed having problems communicating with their parents and often feel misunderstood.
“Those (children) with difficulties should be able to sit down with their parents, so they can discuss and create a good understanding between them.”
According to a longitudinal study by the Wits Centre of Excellence in Human Development, across the country, one in three children in South Africa is hurt by their parent or caregiver and one in five experiences sexual abuse.
Qwebe cited the crime statistics in relation to rape cases, which showed an average of 110 rapes recorded by police each day. The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation estimates that only between 10 and 25% of sexual offenses are reported. It also showed that 41 of all reported rapes over three years, were against children.
Crucial to addressing the problem of rape, is to provide education to both young girls and boys. In this, Qwebe said, a summit of a similar nature for young boys was suggested and will be looked into.
Photo Credit: Dumisani Qwebe
Qwebe added that the forum had raised the issue of proper education with the Department of Education several times, but to no avail.
Qwebe said efforts for government to provided TVET colleges will increase, as “education is vital to creating an informed community”, adding that stakeholders in Non-Governmental-Organisations should assist in assisting the process.
VOC Tauhierah Salie