I love that on Facebook Paula has posted a black & white photo of herself as part of the current awareness campaign around gender based violence (GBV).

 Here in South Africa the statistics on GBV are truly horrific with many men apparently thinking that using violence against women and especially against their wife/partner is simply a regular form of discipline within their relationships. It beggars belief!

As a man and a husband who has never been violent towards his wife (or any other woman), I really do not understand why some men choose to be violent to the one they're supposed to love above all others.

I also do not understand why it should be a lottery for a woman as to whether her husband/partner will be violent towards her. It beggars belief!

So let's unpack things as they stand here in SA...

Gender based violence is a general term encompassing many forms of violence including domestic violence (DV), violence against women and girls (VAWG), Intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual violence (SV) to name just a few. None of these are acceptable behaviours!

More than half of all the women murdered (56%) in 2009 were killed by an intimate male partner [1].
Between 25% and 40% of South African women have experienced sexual and/or physical IPV in their lifetime [2, 3].

Just under 50% of women report having ever experienced emotional or economic abuse at the hands of their intimate partners in their lifetime [3].

Prevalence estimates of rape in South Africa range between 12% and 28% of women ever reporting being raped in their lifetime [3-4].

Between 28 and 37% of adult men report having raped a women [3, 5].

Non-partner SV is particularly common, but reporting to police is very low. One study found that one in 13 women in Gauteng had reported non-partner rape, and only one in 25 rapes had been reported to the police [3].

South Africa also faces a high prevalence of gang rape [6].

Most men who rape do so for the first time as teenagers and almost all men who ever rape do so by their mid-20s [7].

There is limited research into rape targeting women who have sex with women. One study across four Southern African countries, including South Africa, found that 31.1% of women reported having experienced forced sex [8].

When you look at some of these facts and figures bigger questions need to be asked, especially of the older male generations and why they aren't mentoring and fathering the younger generations. But then again, gender based violence isn't a new phenomenon here and kids learn from their parents.

All I can say is that I am proud that my boys have never seen such nonsnese in our house growing up and they know that I always treat people with the respect they deserve. Hopefully they've been set up for a violence free life with their future wives, at the very least I can pray for that to be so.

[1] Abrahams, N., et al., Intimate Partner Femicide in South Africa in 1999 and 2009. PLoS medicine, 2013. 10(4).
[2] Jewkes, R., J. Levin, and L. Penn-Kekana, Risk factors for domestic violence: findings from a South African cross-sectional study. Social science & medicine, 2002. 55(9): p. 1603-17.
[3] Machisa, M., et al., The War at Home. 2011, Genderlinks, and Gender and Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council (MRC) Johannesburg.
[4] Jewkes, R., et al., Understanding Men's Health and Use of Violence: Interface of rape and HIV in South Africa. 2009.
[5] Jewkes, R., et al., Gender inequitable masculinity and sexual entitlement in rape perpetration South Africa: findings of a cross-sectional study. PloS One, 2011. 6(12).
[6] Jewkes, R., Streamlining: understanding gang rape in South Africa. 2012: Forensic Psychological Services, Middlesex University.
[7] Jewkes, R., et al., Why, when and how men rape? Understanding rape perpetration in South Africa. South African Crime Quarterly, 2010. 34(December).
[8] Sandfort, TGM, et al, Forced sexual experiences as risk factor for self-reported HIV Infection among Southern African lesbian and bisexual women, PLoS ONE, 8:1, 2013.


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