Cape Peninsula University of Technology management and staff observes a moment of silence for victims and survivors of Gender based violence. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
This is definitely not the country we fought for, to borrow the words of University of Cape Town (UCT) chancellor Graça Machel at the memorial service for 19-year-old Uyinene Mrwetyana, who was raped and bludgeoned to death, allegedly, by a man old enough to be her father.

The post office worker allegedly lured the UCT film and drama student into his dark workplace after everyone had left following a power failure.

How we wish we could say that Mrwetyana’s brutal killing is a rare occurrence in our society. But we know that the rape and murder of young girls and women in this country has reached epidemic levels, levels that are normally associated or experienced in war situations.

And yet we would like to believe that we are a peaceful nation when women and girls live in fear of their lives and their safety.

Examples of brutal murders and rapes are just too numerous to count. Some of the victims are newborns. It’s reprehensible.

It has become common for a toddler to go missing, and after a few days her broken body is found lying in a ditch or toilet somewhere.

As editors we are running out of words to express the indignation of having to write yet another leader lamenting the rape and murder of yet another girl in our country at the hands of men some of whom are fathers themselves.

Many perpetrators are arrested and convicted but clearly this doesn’t seem to serve as a deterrent much as our criminal justice system would have us believe.

It seems the more people are being arrested and prosecuted for violent crimes against women, children and members of the LGBTQI communities, people with disabilities and the elderly, the more others come out and commit the exact crime or even worse.

This week, the African Transformation Movement said in a statement South Africans are tired of hashtags, awareness campaigns and prayers and are demanding ways to deal with heinous crimes such as brutal killings and rape of women and children.

The party goes as far as asking for a referendum on the death penalty saying already there are more than 500 000 signatures in support. And who can blame them under these circumstances?