AFRICA

WE MUST NOT CLOSE OUR EYES TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

"We live in a society that is based on the subjugation of women, influenced by economic position". With these words, Keitumetse Fatimata Motlouatse began her contribution to an online talk organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation on violence against women in Africa.

Together with three women's rights activists, FNF Africa drew attention to violence against women and children – which remains a taboo issue – and the importance of equal rights for women in society. "This violence undermines democracy, it makes it less inclusive, less responsive, less accountable and less resilient," said Sandra Pepera (Senior Associate and Director for Gender Women and Politics Programme with the National Democratic Institute (NDI)).

Increased violence against women and children due to governmental corona measures

Corona-related restrictions, especially curfews and contact restrictions, are leading to increasing violence against women and children worldwide. Given the often already fragile position of women and children in some African societies, this is a harsh blow to human rights.

The number of cases of violence against women and children had already been alarmingly high in 2019. According to a WHO report, 35% of all women globally have experienced violence at least once. In Africa, the figure was as high as 45.6%, and the number of unreported cases is even higher. Especially in rural areas, family life, politics, culture and often legislation are patriarchal.

Women in South Africa live in greater danger than anywhere else in the world

A frightening case in sub-Saharan Africa is South Africa. According to our expert Keitumetse, women in South Africa live in much greater danger than elsewhere: "South Africa has a femicide rate 5 times higher than the global average.

When the national lockdown to combat the Covid-19 pandemic was announced in mid-March, a ban on the sale of alcohol was initially imposed - among other things to protect women and children from domestic violence. When this prohibition was relaxed for three weeks in early June, 21 women and children died due to domestic violence. Although the ban on alcohol was resumed, the state did not take any further action to protect women and children and to curb violence. The panellists of the talk, who refer to themselves as "experts of our reality", stated that violence against women is a social problem that needs to be discussed openly and must finally find its place on the political agenda of the male-dominated continent.

Experts believe that violence against women is a social problem that needs to be discussed openly.

What are the local effects of the pandemic? Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger in conversation with Tami Jackson from South Africa and Fatma Karume from Tanzania.

"We are living in a country where we are not empowered to take care of ourselves.“
Fatma Karume, Anwältin in Tansania

In 2020, massive efforts were made worldwide to silence human rights activists.

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