President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at the Mogol Club Hall in Lephalale. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS
We must remember those who have  been raped and murdered by men,  but we need to protect all women  and children from the “cowardly  criminals” who make their lives  unbearable.

This was President Cyril  Ramaphosa’s message when he  launched the government’s 16 Days  of Activism for No Violence against  Women and Children campaign at  Lephalale in Limpopo on Monday.

He called the scourge of gender-based violence a crisis and a great  shame on the good name of our nation.

“It goes against our African values  and everything we stand for as a  people. We grew up being taught that  as men and boys we must respect  women and protect children. We were  taught to never, ever raise your hand  against a woman. But we have lost  our way.

“Our communities are in the grip of  violence against those we are supposed  to protect,” he said. 

Ramaphosa blamed “cowardly  criminals” with no regard for the  sanctity of human life, pointing out  that they do not discriminate on  age or gender, with many boys also  being raped. 

“They impose their toxic  masculinity on those who are gay,  straight, transgender or bisexual. 

“We are here today to unite under  the theme: ‘Enough is Enough’. 

“Because we have truly had  enough,” he said.



 The “grip of violence” Ramaphosa  refers to is reflected in the following  horrifying statistics:

• Year on year, there has been an  almost 4% increase in rapes; 

• 80% of reported sexual offences  are rape;

• Four out of every 10 women will  be raped in the course of their lives;

• Every three hours, a woman is  murdered in our country.

Over the next two weeks, our Don’t  Look Away campaign will shed light  on some of the enablers of gender-based violence.

Self-inspection and re-evaluation  of how we conduct ourselves in our  daily lives will be part of it. Some of it will be difficult. But #Don’tLookAway.

* GET INVOLVED! Share your thoughts on toxic masculinity and how it affects our society via Whatsapp on 074 557 3535. Remember to add #DontLookAway