FEMICIDE – SOUTH AFRICA’S MOST DEVASTATING EPIDEMIC

Femicide is currently an enormous problem in South Africa. People of this country are mourning the death of Kwasa Zozo Lugalo, who was allegedly stabbed to death by an ex-boyfriend who did not want her to leave him. She died during Women’s Month while the country commemorates the Anti-Apartheid march that took place on the 9th of August in 1956. In this march, more than 20,000 women marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the carrying of passbooks. Today, Femicide and Gender-based Violence (GBV) have overtaken passbooks as the prime impeding force against women. Femicide (and GBV) continues to be an unending nightmare for women, and its effects are utterly devastating to our society.

Femicide is the killing of women based on their gender; it is usually perpetrated by men who hold a position of power or control over others, whether in the workplace, home, or in communities. In most cases, those responsible for the crime are known by the victim or survivor; such as intimate partners, members of the extended family, friends, teachers or community leaders. According to the most recent statistics released by the South African Police Service, in 2019/20, 2,695 women were murdered in South Africa. This means a woman is murdered every three hours. Gauteng recorded one of the most terrifying incidents of killings of women. The report reveals that women who live in Gauteng are in danger the most compared to the other provinces in South Africa.

Femicide against women in South Africa has become out of control. It is a cycle where women are murdered with no mercy and it negatively affects communities and societies, especially in urban areas. Fear is mounting among South African women that they might be the next victims of femicide. Women of South Africa are no longer feeling safe in our shattered society.

The women of Mthwalume in KwaZulu-Natal are living in fear as femicide soars. The bodies of five women aged between 16 and 36 were found on a sugarcane farm between April and August 2020. Two of the bodies were found during Women’s Month. That is the reality of women living in South Africa.

The killings of women have sparked outrage across the country. People have taken to the streets to voice their anger at the government, who they believe, has failed to protect women of this country. South African women desire to see change, but nothing happens in a country that has a high alarming rate of femicide. More needs to be done to end femicide which can be done by first addressing the root and structural causes of femicide.

I believe that femicide is not the problem of women but men as they are the perpetrators. To tackle femicide, men need to change their violent behaviour towards women and refrain from thinking that they have control over women. Men need to identify their actions by seeking help early to avoid murdering of women. There are groups like the Men’s Forum that create a platform to discuss all issues affecting men in modern society.

The Justice system needs to hold the perpetrators accountable for murdering women and they must be given severe punishment. They must ensure that perpetrators spend the rest of their lives behind bars as they are a danger to society. As the rate of femicide increases, the government must act. South African women are tired of empty promises.

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