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Human rights organisations believe the trend will continue over the festive season

Director of Molo Songololo, Patric Solomons. African News Agency (ANA)

Director of Molo Songololo, Patric Solomons. African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 11, 2021

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Cape Town - Human rights organisations fear the increase in rape, child murders and murders of women may continue over the festive season.

Recent crime statistics revealed a 7.1% increase in rape, 31.7% increase in child murders and 7.7% increase in women murders, compared to the same period as last year.

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Director of Molo Songololo, Patric Solomons, said the recent crime statistics are of great concern.

“Molo Songololo fears that this trend may continue as we enter the Christmas, New Year’s and the summer holiday period. Poverty-related conditions, increasing job loss, school drop-out, and lack of access to support services and price increases further contribute to the increased stress and tensions, competition, frustrations and killing of children and women. These conditions increase gang recruitment of children and young people, rivalry, competition and violence,” he said.

“Children and women are most vulnerable and at high risk of being abused and exploited. Women have an increased burden to look after children being abandoned by fathers, secure food and shelter for children, being manipulated, groomed and taken advantage of to support and provide for men,” he added.

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Spokesperson for Women for Change, Bulelwa Adonis, said she definitely believes this trend will continue over the festive season.

“The festive season is known for enjoyment, and that's often accompanied with alcohol. That makes the festive season the ‘easiest’ time for predators to commit their crimes, abuse the situation and environment. Not to mention that this is the season where perpetrators showcase acts of rehearsal and premeditated generosity to use as a weapon to lure their potential victims in with,” she said.

Advocacy specialist at Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust, Jeanne Bodenstein, said the increase in sexual offences is alarming.

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“This was most probably even further impacted by the harsh lockdowns in 2020. We believe that the criminal justice system must support survivors in the aftermath of the rape and must provide support when they do decide to report.

“Every survivor should have access to post-rape care services, including medical treatment, a forensic examination, psychosocial support, referrals for long-term support and the opportunity to report the matter. This might lead to an increase in reported offences, but this will mean that more survivors have an opportunity to experience justice,” she said.

Director of the Children's Institute at UCT, Shanaaz Mathews, said it is very difficult to pinpoint what contributed to the increases.

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“In our recent study with men, women and children in communities in the Western Cape, we found that violence in communities is normalised. This provides the space for acts of violence such as sexual assault of children to remain hidden by families.

“In addition, the tacit acceptance of gender-based violence (GBV) was prominent in their experiences, with some forms of GBV seen as socially acceptable or desirable behaviour. Through these interviews, we have learnt how boundaries become blurred and sexual engagement with children and young people becomes tolerated and even normalised,” she said.

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