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.