One in six women killed by intimate partner – POWA

Although the number of reported cases relating to women abuse is very high, it is difficult to determine the exact South African statistics as many cases go unreported.

The incidence of battery or domestic violence is particularly hard to measure, because the police do not keep separate statistics on assault cases perpetrated by husbands or boyfriends.

Many women are still unaware of their rights when reporting abuse and even informed women traumatised by an assault are unlikely to be assertive and insist on their rights. Many women are afraid of further violence from the perpetrator if they attempt legal action.

The introduction of the new Domestic Violence Act adds to the problems since a lot of women have not grasped it yet. The challenge exists for the Act, including the regulations, to be made an accessible form of legislation to benefit and protect women in all areas of their lives.

Effective implementation of the Act also needs to be ensured, for effective legal preventative measures (protection order) and police escorts to abused women.

The gendered nature of domestic violence has unfortunately also seen an increase in the number of women being murdered by their intimate male partners.

Lack of statistical information on this form of killing makes it very hard to measure the extent of the scourge, but newspaper reports on this issue leave little to one’s imagination.

These killings demonstrate the culture of male violence against women and sexism that still pervades our society. Women have fought and succeeded in getting many basic rights, yet in the private sphere of their homes, the inequality between men and women is still a battleground.

The Department of Justice estimates that one out of every four South African women is a survivor of domestic violence.

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