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Will South Africa Ever Take R@pe Seriously?

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According to the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) in Cape Town, South Africa, police and social workers don’t treat cases of r@pe and similar forms of abuse seriously enough.

The IMC on Violence against Women and Children said in a statement, “We cannot continue having social workers, police officers and health workers who treat issues of domestic violence as a private matter.”

They went on to say, “There is evidence that victims reported cases of domestic violence to police or social workers, but their pleas for help fell on deaf ears or they were told to resolve the matter with their partners.”

The Committee was established by Cabinet in May last year to investigate the root causes of violence in general, and in particular, against women and children and to develop a comprehensive strategy to deal with the scourge of violence against women and children.

Minister Bathabile Dlamini leads the IMC and comprises the Ministers of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Justice and Constitutional Development, Health, Home Affairs, Police and Basic Education.


At a meeting in Cape Town on Wednesday, the committee noted that violence against women and children is a complex social and economic problem that affects all South Africans, irrespective of race, gender and social class.

It also said that while the Government has enacted various pieces of legislation to provide better protection for women and children, there is still a need for more action.

Dlamini said, “Everyone has a responsibility to act to stop violence against women and children. We need to work with our communities, especially men and boys to change the culture of violence and initiate prevention activities to support highly vulnerable women and children, including those with disabilities.”

In a report done by the Medical Research Council (MRC), it was noted that there was a myriad of research around men and what causes them to behave violently but strong focus was required to educate the girl child of her responsibilities to protect herself.

Several cases of the rape and murder of young women dominated newspaper headlines earlier this month.

Public protest was sparked off when on February 1, 17-year old Anene Booysen was gang raped and disemboweled. She died in hospital shortly afterwards.