Democratic Alliance (DA) Interim leader John Steenhuisen has challenged South African men to stand up and call out sexism, misogyny and chauvinism. He says since men are the root cause of the scourge of Gender-based violence (GBV) in the country, they need to start becoming the solution.

In his Women’s Day message on Sunday, he cited a report by Statistics SA that showed South Africa to be the rape capital of the world, with the number of femicide cases five times higher than the global average.

“I am appealing to the men of our country to take a good hard look and change the attitudes and behaviour that continue to enable the denigration and abuse of the women in our country.”

He adds: “We need to call our misogyny instead of catcalling women. We need to build up and support women instead of tearing them down and objectifying them and we need to teach our sons, our brothers, and friends to call-out sexism whenever they see it.”

In the video below the Interim DA leader shares his Women’s Day message:

Numbers are alarming

In reaction to the publication of the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) annual crime statistics report, Amnesty International South Africa is demanding justice for victims of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and their families by calling on government to act with urgency.

Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa, Shenilla Mohamed, says it’s disheartening to see the number of sexual offences rise.

“It is alarming and disheartening to see that the total number of sexual offences has increased by 1.7%, with sexual assault increasing by 4.2% and 706 more people raped in South Africa over the last year.

Gender-based violence

Meanwhile, a group of gender activists from various parts of Cape Town also staged a protest at the Athlone Stadium against ongoing GBV and child abuse in South Africa to commemorate Women’s Day on Sunday.

The protestors say they demonstrated outside the stadium because it is located close to the studio of a well-known Cape Town jazz musician and music teacher who was recently arrested on a charge of rape.

He is due to stand trial at the end of October for allegedly grooming and raping one of his young male students over several years.

Non-governmental organisation, One Billion Rising, spokesperson Lucinda Evans says, “To the perpetrators out there, we see you and we will see you in court. Today, on this Women’s Day, it is about the children. The children of this country, the children of this community and also the children that have been victims of this heinous crime.”