Limiting alcohol intake, stringent by-laws key to combating gender-based violence, femicide
Pretoria - Limiting access to alcohol, combined with stringent related municipality by-laws would be necessary in addressing the rampant levels of gender-based violence and femicide in the townships.
These were some of the suggestions that emerged from a webinar on alcohol and substance abuse, as contributing factors to gender-based violence and femicide.
The discussion was hosted by the Commission for Gender Equality yesterday.
Director of strategic partnerships at Sonke Gender Justice, Bafana Khumalo, said studies linking alcohol consumption and intimate partner violence found that 45% of men and 20% of women were drinking during these episodes.
Khumalo said alcohol abuse in men manifested itself in the underlying need for power and control related to gender-based inequalities and insecurities.
“We see that dominant masculine gender norms and behaviours revolve around notions of aggression and risk-taking, which plays out in road rage, high accident rates, and fights where alcohol is involved.
“When men partake in typical masculine behaviours such as heavy drinking or risky sexual behaviour, this can often lead to violence against their partners and families, impacting girls and women disproportionately.”
Khumalo said there was a need to address the continued use of adverts seen to be glorifying the consumption of alcohol.
Zhuldyz Akisheva, regional representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said they were aware of the global estimates of gender-based violence which were not unique to South Africa.
Akisheva said studies in several countries indicated that 30% of mortality was caused by violence attributed to alcohol consumption with information indicating that a third of perpetrators consumed alcohol prior to acts of violence taking place.
She said research going back 10 years found that alcohol consumption prior to these acts was at 35% in America, 44% in South Africa, England at 45%, and China with 55%.
She said environments where there was a culture of heavy drinking and greater availability of alcohol in most instances experienced high levels of violence.
“Given the strong links between alcohol consumption and violence, measures to reduce the availability and harmful use of alcohol are important in any violence prevention strategies governments wish to implement.”