This is according to Liezelle Kumalo, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).
She was commenting after another femicide incident in Durban.
Last Friday, Zamadeyi Goodness Ngaleka, who was employed as a financial officer at Rietvlei Hospital in Umzimkhulu, Southern KwaZulu- Natal was shot outside her Murchison home.
According to the Department of Health, a neighbour discovered the bodies of Ngaleka and her husband in their car outside their home.
According to Kumalo, a case of intimate femicide (when a woman is murdered by her husband or boyfriend) happens every eight hours.
She said women were the most vulnerable within “safe” spaces such as their own homes, where guns were used to intimidate, threaten and control them, usually in the context of domestic disputes.
“In South Africa, a woman is at greater risk of being shot by her partner, in her home and with a legal gun than being shot by a stranger,” said Kumalo.
She added that men should be provided spaces to talk about issues that confronted them.
Kumalo said the culture of men not being allowed to express their emotions or show their feelings needed to end.
“Families need to be open about the challenges they face, and to seek professional help. Anger is a mental health problem, and we need to break down the negative stereotypes that exist within South African cultures,” she said.
Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, the provincial Health MEC, visited the hospital on Tuesday to convey his condolences to Ngaleka’s colleagues and relatives, and urged women to leave abusive relationships before it was too late.
He said sometimes women gave so much respect and love, but got nothing in return.
“If the love and respect is not reciprocated, just get out of that relationship before we get to such a tragic incident,” he said.
Ngaleka is expected to be buried on Sunday in Gamalakhe.
In another incident last month, nurse Barbara Haines was shot and killed by her partner Zane Smith, who then committed suicide at their Phoenix, north of Durban, home.
That incident came after another murder-suicide in which a Durban magistrate, Bongekile Ntenza, and her three daughters, Fekeza, Thabiso and Kwezi, were killed by the woman’s husband, Sandile Mkhize, in Montclair.
Kumalo said research had shown that South Africa was a country with people who were under extreme stress and did not know how to deal with it.
She advised women in abusive relationships to seek professional help.
“There are a lot of support centres across South Africa, and people should go to safe shelters,” she said.
KZN violence monitor Mary de Haas said that when guns were in the hands of unstable people it was easy for them to use them to harm the people around them.
“There could be various reasons for men resorting to such behaviour, including suspicion, jealousy about extra-marital relationships, uncontrolled anger over something, fuelled by alcohol, or feeling threatened by women,” said De Haas.
She added that we had not broken the cycle of violence in families that persisted from the past.
“Children grow up in violent environments, seeing their fathers abusing their mothers (or sometimes women abusing men, emotionally and even physically) and getting abused themselves, so they perpetuate it in their own relationships.
“That is why it persists,” she said.