Violence against women on the rise in Africa
Although women in Africa have been finding their space, cases of violence against them are still rising. Images shared online few days ago of a bruised and battered young South African woman sitting on a bed and speaking of the moment her male partner beat her so badly she thought she might die were hurting to say the least. The partner accused her of cheating yet there was no substantial evidence. In Africa this year at least more than 5,000 women have been violently killed, mainly by partners and as of now, most African countries do not have any consistent or official way of documenting cases of the taboo crime of domestic violence. In the images shared on Twitter, the still red bruising around her neck shows the force he used as he tried to choke her, while the bleeding in her eye, the deep black rim around it and her swollen broken nose reveal how her fears of being killed were by no means unfounded.The Johannesburg woman, 27, said on the video she had dared to argue with a man who had hit her before when he’d been drunk. This time she said he was sober and had just returned from Mpumalanga to see his friend. “It happened so fast, I was afraid. Would I come out alive?” she said during a chat with the samaritan from her hospital bed. “He grabbed my neck and punched me twice, that’s what I remember.” In South Africa this year at least 200 women are believed to have been violently killed, most commonly by their husbands and partners. Last year more than 600,000 experienced domestic violence. The problem is the figures are not precise and are very likely to be an underestimate.In Africa, the domestic violence in South Africa is more complicated because it is related to culture and that culture is formed by traditions,” a Ugandan lady told your blogger. “When a case reaches the police in Uganda, it is as if the woman has made a report to a local neighbourhood leader, it is considered a domestic matter, and often she is asked to make peace.” The women organisations in Uganda have called on the government to better protect women, arguing that gender-based violence had become all too prevalent.
Based on recent data from the non governmental organisations, there were 20,000 cases of violence against women in Uganda throughout 2015, up by 3 percent compared to cases in the previous year. There were cases in the personal or domestic sphere such as in romantic or intimate relationships, an employer-domestic worker setting and within the family group.In addition, the data showed that victims ranged in age from infants to the elderly.Victims also spanned social groups including the disabled, migrant workers, transgender and student.More than three quarters of the data in my possession was compiled from traditional and religious courts in Sub Saharan Africa and the remaining from public services institutions.African countries need a comprehensive policy that covers prevention, punishment and rehabilitation. The prevention mechanism should be implemented by state and public institutions by adhering to human rights and ensuring the recruitment, promotion and supervision systems are not gender biased.By having such a system violence in African countries could be reduced in the long term as it would create a more conducive environment for women to live and flourish.Violations of women’s rights should be included in African countries development plans otherwise physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse of women would continue. Protection of women is an urgent issue in Africa, especially since women can suffer violence regardless of education, age and profession. African countries need a systemic protection mechanism because when a woman experiences abuse, it will reduce her productivity and in some cases like rape, the impact will stay forever.There’s a real land urgent need for a law on sexual violence to better resolve sexual abuse cases. According to data from the public or community sphere more than half of cases were sexual abuse such as rape and molestation.