Gender violence knows no divide, says Zuma

President Jacob Zuma. (Gallo)

President Jacob Zuma. (Gallo)

Violence and abuse against women and children knows no class, race, or geographic divide, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

"No woman or child should be sexually harassed, beaten, raped, stabbed, shot, or attacked in any manner, anywhere in our country," Zuma said in a statement to mark the launch of government's 16 days of no violence against women and children campaign.

"Those who commit such horrendous crimes have no place in our communities. They belong in jail."

Zuma launched the campaign in Johannesburg and said this year violence against those with disabilities had been added.

Violence included sexual harassment, assault, rape and so-called corrective rape, domestic violence, and cultural practices harmful to women.

"Violence of this nature is barbaric, ferocious, and inhumane. It must be uprooted from our society. Let us use our laws to put an end to this scourge," he said.

"Let us also use our human values of Ubuntu as our weapon, and also our common resolve to build a caring society based on a strong human rights culture."

Strong message
Zuma said government was also sending a strong message to men in the country to isolate those who gave them a bad name and to join campaigns. 

Recent days, weeks, and months have been rife with examples of violence against women and children.

On Monday, a 17-year-old boy was arrested for the rape of a four-year-old boy in Itsoseng near Lichtenburg, North West.

In other reports, a teacher accused of raping a 10-year-old pupil at a primary school in Mapetla, Soweto, appeared in the Protea Magistrate's Court on Friday.

On November 12, the mother of a seven-month-old baby who was found dead and mutilated in a shack in Diepsloot, and her boyfriend, were arrested.

In October, the bodies of two-year-old Yonelisa Mali and her cousin Zandile Mali, aged three, were found in a toilet cubicle. Five men were arrested and charged with rape and murder.

Meanwhile, convicted rapist and murderer Johannes Kana was handed two life sentences by the Swellendam Circuit Court on November 1 for the rape and murder of Anene Booysen in Bredasdorp. Booysen was raped and disembowelled and later died in Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, on February 2.

Launching the campaign, Zuma said the first phase of upgrading 57 regional courts into Sexual Offences Courts had begun. He said progress had also been made in implementing the national register for sex offenders. 

The number of convicted sexual offenders increased from 2 792 in March 2013 to 11 418 names on October 31.

The abuse of women and children was in some instances entrenched by the dire economic situation of most women, and it was important for women to obtain appropriate skills and opportunities to obtain jobs, Zuma said. – Sapa



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