June 19, 2018—Femicide is on the rise in South Africa, with Statistics South Africa reporting on Wednesday that cases involving the murder of women increased by a staggering 117% between 2015 and 2017.According to the statistics agency, the number of women who experienced sexual offences also jumped from 31,665 in 2015/16 to 70,813 in 2016/17 — an increase of 124%.
These are drastic increases in less than 24 months, said Stats SA’s “Crime against Women in South Africa” report released on Tuesday.
The report provides an overview of all types of crime, including violent crimes, as they affect women in South Africa.
The agency noted that “violence against women is a serious problem in South Africa,” adding that horrific stories of intimate partner violence have been highlighted in the country’s media since the #MenAreTrash anti-GBV campaign went viral some months ago.
The hashtag has lately been rekindled by the horrific murders of several women by their former lovers in various townships and universities in the country.
The report also indicates that in 2016/17, people refrained from carrying out ordinary their daily activities due to fear of crime, with women more affected by this trend compared to the men.
The Stats SA report said due to fear of violence against them, women felt they were not free to express their sexual orientation (e.g. lesbian or transgender) or walk to fetch firewood or water alone without being attacked.
The women even felt more unsafe than men walking in their neighbourhoods alone — both during the day and when it is dark, the report added.
Ironically, an analysis of household crimes have shown that male-headed households are targeted more than female-headed households for most crimes considered in this report – meaning that in many cases, a greater percentage of male-headed households than female-headed households were attacked by criminals.
A possible explanation that was given in the Victims of Crime Survey 2016/17 release is that it may be that female-headed households always have someone at home. In other words, the presence of people in a home acted as a deterrent to household crime, the report noted.
In the case of individual crimes, the percentage of individuals aged 16 years or older, who experienced any type of crime in 2016/17, was 3.6% for women and 3.9 % for men, the report said.
Greater percentages of victims of theft of personal property, sexual offences and fraud were women, while greater percentages of victims of hijacking of motor vehicles, street robbery and assault were men, it added.
In terms of reporting of individual crime, greater proportions of women victims reported hijacking of motor vehicles, sexual offence and assault, the report said.
In general, it added, men were more satisfied with the police response than women, except for street robbery and assault, where greater percentages of women were more satisfied than men.
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