Gender-based violence getting worse: activists

The Covid-19 lockdown has exacerbated the abuse of women. That’s according to gender-based violence activists in the Western Cape. Dozens of women have died since the lockdown started in March, with President Cyril Ramaphosa calling it a pandemic in its own right. eNCA's Ronald Masinda has more.

CAPE TOWN - The COVID-19 lockdown has exacerbated the abuse of women according to gender-based violence activists in the Western Cape.

Dozens of women have died since the lockdown started in March, with President Cyril Ramaphosa calling it a pandemic in its own right. 

READ: Women's Day: Ramaphosa pleads for GBV to end

After years of abuse from her partner, Siphokazi Nikani says her community played a major role in saving her life. 

"You must have a sign on your window like a red cloth or black cloth then your neighbour will understand that the abuse is starting then they could get help for you."

Gender-based violence often seems too big an issue tackle and too horrendous to engage with and overcome. It's a war, it's our pandemic, and yet sometimes it feels we have already lost. With nearly 3,000 women murdered every year, it might be easier for many to just ignore the issue. But Professor Francis Peterson, rector and vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State, believes we already have the vaccine for gender-based violence.

The massive number of job losses during the lockdown led to one survivor, who asked for her identity to be hidden, leaving her abusive partner in June. 

READ: NPO calls on police to handle GBV cases better 

"In our relationship, I was the working one and when COVID-19 hit I couldn't work anymore because I worked in the restaurant industry", she said.

The government says it is doing all it can to end gender-based violence but activists are saying time is running out.

Western Cape Women's Shelter Movement's, Bernadine Bachar said, “not only have we seen an increase in gender-based violence but also much more gruesome ways of inflicting pain in women’s bodies and there’s definitely been an increase over the past two years, we can’t get away from that.”

According to statistics, on average, one woman is killed every three hours in South Africa.

Source
eNCA