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Latest quarterly crime statistics show a ‘nation at war with itself’ – Ramaphosa

As South Africa observes 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, progress is being made to protect women and children from gender-based violence (GBV), according to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In his weekly newsletter, the president said that over just three months, more than 4 000 alleged perpetrators of gender-based violence and 410 alleged rapists were traced and arrested by the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit.

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In addition, the police and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) processed more than 17 000 trial-ready GBV cases, he added.

“Over the last few years, there has been a growing mobilisation of all sectors of society to stop the abuse of women and children.

“There have been some areas of progress. The latest crime statistics show some of the successes of the criminal justice system in bringing perpetrators to book,” he said.

Ramaphosa said the latest quarterly crime statistics showed a “nation at war with itself”.

READ | Cyril Ramaphosa | GBV: Men are the problem, but they need to be part of the solution

Between July and September, 989 women were murdered, 1 277 were victims of attempted murder, and more than 13 000 were victims of serious assault.

During the same period, more than 10 000 rape cases were opened with the SAPS.

In the six months to September 2022, more than 500 children were killed.

He said:

We are in the grip of terrible crimes in which offenders are known to the victims. Women and children are being violated not only by strangers, but by people who are known to them – by their fathers, boyfriends and husbands, colleagues, teachers and even classmates.

“However, as a society, we are not powerless to stop these crimes. We can stop gender-based violence,” added Ramaphosa.

He also said work needed to be done to prevent “men and boys from becoming abusers in the first place”.

“It is men – as husbands and partners, as fathers, colleagues, peers and classmates – who need to consider their own attitudes towards women and girls.

“To give meaning to 16 Days of Activism, we now need to engage the men of South Africa in a dialogue about their responsibility towards women and toxic masculinity. All of society should be mobilised to organise these men’s dialogues,” he said.

The dialogues, said Ramaphosa, needed to create an understanding of sexual consent and challenge myths around rape.

He said:

As president, I stand ready to participate in men’s dialogues. I call on ministers, premiers, religious, political and community leaders, sportspeople, artists, celebrities and business people to do the same.

“The men of South Africa owe it to the women and children of this country to take up the struggle against gender-based violence,” he added.

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