Despite many attempts and programs by government and civil rights groups to stop Gender-Based Violence (GBV) some people continue to experience this nightmare even during this national lockdown.
For years, South Africa has been grappling with the GBV crisis.
The country has seen an increase in the number of GBV related incidents during this national lockdown.
Contributing factors to GBV during lockdown:
Clinical psychologist and lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, Anele Siswana, says people are frustrated and worried that they will lose their jobs after this lockdown.
There are fears that things could get worse as tensions are expected to rise due to possible job cuts.
“High levels of stress – potentially lead to low frustration tolerance. So much of emotional turmoils and misunderstanding. Another factor is that people lose jobs, income and food security is compromised. People are hungry already and that alone, potentially causes a problem,” explains Siswana.
According to Statistics South Africa, the official unemployment numbers for the fourth quarter of 2019 remained unchanged at 29.1% – the highest rate since 2008.
South Africa may lose about 370 000 jobs this year as a result of the national lockdown and initiatives to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to a forecast by the Reserve Bank.
Siswana says some victims of GBV may be scared to report these incidents to authorities.
“This is not easy especially where there are power dynamics and control. I mean for some people may find it hard to report someone that is a provider. So reporting needs to be threaded carefully.”
“Seek social support to those who are close. Victims can be empowered through ongoing psycho education and awareness. Getting support from families and those around,” adds Siswana.
In the video below SABC News discusses Gender-Based Violence:
Police minister Bheki Cele on GBV cases
Police Minister Bheki Cele says police have received more than 87 000 Gender-Based Violence complaints during the first week of the national lockdown.
The calls received by the command centre, relating to GBV, include cases of domestic violence, rape, abuse (verbal, physical) among others.
It is believed that the numbers of incidents have gone up since the minister made the announcement few weeks ago.
Cele said the police had also arrested more than 2 200 people around the country for contravening the regulations.
Few weeks ago, a police officer was arrested for allegedly raping his wife.
The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) Chairperson Tamara Mathebula says alcohol abuse is not only the contributing factor to GBV.
The ban on the sale of alcohol was effected when government implemented the national lockdown.
Click below to listen to Mathebula:
Meanwhile, the centre where people can report incidents of GBV operates on a 24 hours a day and 7 days a week basis.
The centre can be reached through the numbers below:
Emergency line: 0800 428 428
Please Call Me: *120*7867#
Skype line: ‘Helpme GBV’
SMS line: 31531