The 17-year-old Paxton, who is from Bishop Lavis, said there were different forms of abuse. “Today young people think it is okay to be in abusive relationships. They confuse it for a kind of love. I am asking young people to stay away from such relationships. If you are in an abusive relationship, those scars will stay with you for the rest of your life. I say no to any kind of abuse,” she said.
Former Springbok Tonderai Chavhanga shared a story about a group of women he knew who were molested by their manager. “The girls who where sexually abused were too scared to lay charges, because they felt intimidated by him. They were also scared of being victimised by him. When I heard about it, I reported it to the management, but because the girls did not want to lay charges, nothing happened. It is important for women to speak out,” he said.
MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato said the rape and murder of young people and women should not be seen as normal.
“It is a major problem. In most cases, those responsible for the heinous crimes and abuse are male and known to the victim.
“Some 39% of women have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime, according to the Western Cape Gender-Based Violence Indicators. Most of this violence takes place in their homes and communities - which are the places where all citizens should feel safest,” he said.
Plato said more than 56% of all murders of women are perpetrated by intimate partners - making intimate femicide the leading cause of death among women. “Everyone deserves to feel safe - from abuse, violence and crime. We also need to be honest about the violence in our communities. And need to speak out about whom and what is the cause for violence in our homes and in our communities.”
He said 67% of all family violence in communities can be attributed to the abuse of alcohol. And 70% of crimes in communities can be attributed to the addiction to substances such as drugs and alcohol.
“Not only does excessive alcohol use and abuse have very serious medical implications for users and their unborn babies, it is also among the primary drivers behind many violent crimes, fatalities on our roads, as well as domestic violence and abuse. We need to reduce violent injuries and fatalities caused by alcohol in targeted areas, through partnerships and a whole-of-society approach.
“We cannot do this without the co-operation and support of our communities. We should also prevent our youth from becoming involved in negative social behaviours such as gangsterism. We need to create the opportunities for our youth through education, jobs and social programmes to keep them safe,” Plato said.
For 16 Days of Activism to end violence against women and children, Independent Media will bring you stories behind the statistics. Please DONT LOOK AWAY. We can all make a difference by supporting victims and organisations working to build a future without violence.