The health sector can help address the impact of violence against women, here’s how

By René Sparks

At the start of Women’s month this year, the gang rape of eight women at a mine dump in Krugersdorp made headlines in South Africa and abroad, adding to the country’s blood-curdling statistics of femicide and violence against women.

The stark reality behind the #MeToo and #SayHerName movements has left us unsettled, unsafe, and wondering – #AmInext?

The incidence of gender-based violence and femicide is rising in South Africa, where incomprehensibly, it is said that there’s a woman raped every 29 – 36 seconds (reliable estimates are hard to come by). The South African Police Service’s (SAPS) statistics on femicide show that 13 815 women over the age of 18 years were murdered between 2015 and 2020. Based on this SAPS data, an average of 2 763 murders took place per year, which works out to an average of around seven women murdered per day.

These numbers, which are not only numbers but in fact people, are unacceptable when considering the loss of life, the violation of basic human rights and the trauma and devastation it leaves in its wake.

This op-Ed was originally posted on Spotlight on August 12, 2022.