‘16 days ac­tivism’ needed ev­ery day

Pretoria News - - OPINION -

WITH 16 Days of Ac­tivism ap­proach­ing it is worth not­ing that cit­i­zen ac­tivism on is­sues of gen­der-based vi­o­lence are not lim­ited to a few weeks in Novem­ber/De­cem­ber.

On­go­ing acts of vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren in the coun­try have seen South Africans take to the streets to protest against the daily vi­o­lence. The lat­est crime sta­tis­tics put into stark re­lief the ex­tent of gen­der-based vi­o­lence.

The num­ber of re­ported rapes rose 3.9% to 41 583 in the year and this was the high­est in four years.

As many as 443 387 rapes have been re­ported to the po­lice over the past decade but this fig­ure will not re­veal the num­ber of cases that went un­re­ported. A to­tal of 2 771 women were mur­dered from Fe­bru­ary 2018 to March 2019.

In Septem­ber, thou­sands of peo­ple took to the streets and dis­rupted South Africa’s host­ing of a World Eco­nomic Fo­rum summit in protest against the killing of 19-year-old univer­sity stu­dent, Uyinene Mr­wetyana.

Speak­ing to the pro­test­ers out­side the summit, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa promised more fund­ing to pro­tect women and harsher penal­ties for gen­der-based crimes.

Fight­ing this scourge will need all sec­tors of so­ci­ety but it must start with po­lice tak­ing all crimes against women and chil­dren se­ri­ously.

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