This is according to Professor Shanaaz Matthews, director of the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town, who said nearly half of women across South Africa were subjected to violence by an intimate partner, which in turn negatively affected about one in four children.
“A child who is exposed to violence in the home also risks being abused and will, quite reasonably, fear for their own safety. There's an increasing global recognition that violence against women and children often occur together in homes, and are driven by the same factors. For instance, young boys who witness their mothers being abused in the home or who are abused themselves are more likely to harm women and children later in life,” she said.
Matthews said in South Africa, as in many other places, social and cultural norms promoted a gendered hierarchy where men were in a superior position over women and children.
“These social norms provide considerable space for men's violence towards women and children to be tolerated. They are manifested in expressions of masculinity, enforcement of gender norms and the way that children are disciplined,” she said.