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A group of more than one hundred protestors marched the streets of South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, under the banner “Not in my name, forward with women and down with women abuse,” behind a woman symbolically dressed head to toe in white. The rally was organized as a response to the increasing violence against women and children in South Africa, including killings and sex attacks.
South Africa is known for having one of the worst crime rates. As reported by Al Jazeera, “according to official figures, a woman is killed by someone she knows every eight hours somewhere in the country and one woman in five has been subjected to at least one act of violent aggression in her life.” The increased violence has been deepening citizens’ anger. This culminated in a demonstration of their frustrations with the rally on Thursday.
It is a landmark event in the South African history, as, for the first time, a majority of men of the country stood up to voice their concerns about the increasing violence against women. The South African men have maintained their silence on the issue for a long time. One of the protest organisers enthusiastically stated, “The time to take collective responsibility for our shameful action is now.” Reaching out to fellow men, he added, “You hear a lady screaming next door, you decide to sleep when you know there is a problem next door…. No man should beat a woman or rape a woman while you’re watching.”
The violence has been worsening, plunging the country into a humanitarian crisis. The government has not been doing enough to protect women or to give them rights to achieve justice for the atrocities they face. Although previous events have been successful in garnering the international community’s support, adequate measures have not been taken by the South African government to reduce the level of crime in the country.
The economic instability, lack of education, and extreme poverty are among some of the crucial factors that trigger crime. In order to solve the problem, the government needs to deal with each one of them individually. If they fail to act, the country will be entrapped in violence in almost every corner, which will be almost impossible to manage. The South African government needs to ensure that its citizens feel secure and ensure their trust in the government mechanisms. Urgently, the government needs to intervene to prevent violence against women.