Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women Picture: Noni Mokati‏/Politics Hub

Johannesburg - Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, says violence has to be dealt with in its totality.

"Let's condemn violence in its totality if we want, as per our Constitution, to create an ideal society where there will be no sexism, racism," Shabangu said. 

She was speaking at the launch and release of a study conducted by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) on the gender-based violence in South Africa. Shabangu said that building strong societies begins with solid families.

"Charity begins at home. It is how we as parents socialise our children."

She added: "Right from birth when a girl child is born as the eldest we say yes it's fine. When a woman has three girls, she says I must try again because I need a boy, an heir. We don't see girls as heirs. So it (the problem) starts there. In our own homes."

Shabangu also made an example that if a boy child hits a girl, he is told not to hit a girl. She said this often gave young boys the wrong message, that it is okay to beat other people.

The minister, who has been heavily criticised for not being at the forefront of women issues in the country, said she was aware of the violence against women while growing up.

"When I grew up it was a norm. If a boy beats you (slaps you) you had no recourse. It's only those who had older brothers who could find a recourse. The system was such that violence was a norm and for a girl to be beaten by a boy it was a norm."

She further explained: "Whether he doesn't know you, kicks you claps you, it was a norm, you would not find a forum talking about that. Today we are a step ahead because we can gather and talk about it. In my time as a young girl, I could not talk about it."

Shabangu called on civil society organisations to unite and merge their research to find a collective solution to combating violence against women. She said her door was open and that she is easily accessible.

According to South Africa's 2016 Demographic and Health Survey, one in five women older than 18 have experienced physical violence. The figure is said to be higher in poorer households where at least one in three women have been exposed to physical violence.

Meanwhile, the study titled Violence Against Women In South Africa: A Country In Crisis, comes amid various incidents femicide and physical violence against women. 

This includes the murder of Soweto woman Karabo Mokoena who was allegedly killed by her boyfriend Sandile Mantsoe, the alleged slapping of a woman at a Joburg night club by the former deputy minister of higher education and training Mduduzi Manana and a Bushbuckridge primary teacher gunned down in front of pupils allegedly by her husband, among others.

In the research report penned by Nonhlanhla Sibanda-Moyo, a gender specialist at CSVR, Eleanor Konje and Maame Kyerewaa Brobbey, it emerged that violence in the country is occurring at endemic proportions and that many women who are victims felt helpless because of pressure from society, religion and culture.

The study which was conducted in four provinces namely Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal, recommends among other things a need for a multifaceted approach, increased women's economic empowerment and the promotion of gender equality to end the scourge of violence against women.

The Star