Femicide is on the rise in South Africa, with Statistics South Africa reporting that the murder rate for women increased drastically by 117% between 2015 and 2016/17.
The number of women who experienced sexual offences also jumped from 31 665 in 2015/16 to 70 813 in 2016/17, which is an increase of 53%.
These are drastic increases in less than 24 months, Stats SA’s Crime against Women in South Africa report released on Tuesday revealed.
The report provides an overview of all types of crime, including violent crimes, as they affect women in South Africa.
Violence against women is a serious problem in South Africa. Horrific stories of intimate partner violence have been highlighted in the media since #MenAreTrash went viral. The hashtag has also been sparked by the murders of Karabo Mokeona; Nonkululeko Mpanza and Nompumelelo Mhlongo (in Thokoza); Promise Mthembu (in KwaZulu-Natal) and Unisa student Jabulile Nhlapo.
Crime limits women’s movements
The report also indicates that in 2016/17, people refrained from ordinary daily activities due to fear of crime.
Women are more affected by this compared to men, as they felt they were not free to express their sexual orientation or walk to fetch firewood or water.
Women felt more unsafe than men walking in their neighbourhoods alone both during the day and when it is dark.
Analysis of household crimes showed that male-headed households were targeted more than female-headed households for most crimes considered in this report.
In many cases, a greater percentage of male-headed households than female-headed households experienced crime.
A possible explanation that was given in the Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) 2016/17 release is that it may be that female-headed households always have someone at home.
The presence of people in a house may act as a deterrent to household crime, the report noted.
In the case of individual crimes, the percentage of individuals aged 16 or older, who experienced any type of crime in 2016/17, was 3.6% for women and 3.9 % for men.
Greater percentages of victims of theft of personal property, sexual offences and fraud were women, while greater percentages of victims of hijacking of motor vehicles, street robbery and assault were men.
In terms of reporting of individual crime, greater proportions of women victims reported hijacking of motor vehicles, sexual offence and assault.
In general, men were more satisfied with the police response than women, except for street robbery and assault, where greater percentages of women were more satisfied than men.
A deeper analysis of household satisfaction with the police response to crime reporting revealed that satisfaction is influenced more by perceptions concerning the police service than the gender of the household head.
A white-headed household has more than four times the odds of being satisfied with the police than a black African-headed household.