Violence Against Women in South Africa: A Country in Crisis 2017
In South Africa, a country scarred by the history of apartheid, violence against women (VAW) is endemic. Statistics on femicide, rape and domestic violence demonstrate unprecedented prevalence rates. According to South Africa’s 2016 Demographic and Health Survey, one in five women older than 18 has experienced physical violence. This figure is reportedly higher in the poorest households, where at least one in three women has reported physical violence. Despite the myriad of legal protections and interventions by state and non-state actors, women in South Africa continue to experience extremely high rates of violence. This raises human security concerns for women particularly and for the country at large. It also begs the question of why VAW persists in South Africa, and what needs to be done to address it. This research contributes towards explaining the high prevalence of VAW in South Africa, and presents recommendations to inform interventions by women, government departments and the wider society for addressing VAW. It does so from the experiences and perceptions of survivors of VAW, a perspective that is underexplored. This report reviews policy interventions made for VAW. Recognising the opportunities and challenges presented by these existing intervention approaches, the report suggests that both state and nonstate actors must develop and commit to a more nuanced understanding of VAW.