Snapshot of the issue

Abuse is any form of behaviour that controls another person, causes physical harm or fear, makes someone do things they do not want to do, or prevents them from doing things they want to do. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, material or financial. Abused women usually experience multiple forms of abuse.

Statistics reporting the abuse of woman in South Africa are some of the highest in the world. Cape Town has been referred to as Rape Town.  

* A woman is raped every 26 seconds in South Africa (
* 1 in every 4 South African women, or 25% of women, are assaulted by their boyfriend or husband every week (UN Children's Emergency Fund)
* 26.8% of women in the Eastern Cape, 28.4% of women in Mpumalanga and 19.1% of women in the Northern Province have been physically abused in their lifetimes by a current or ex-partner (Jewkes et al, 1999).
* In a study of 1 394 men working for three Cape Town municipalities, approximately 44% admitted to abusing their female partners (Abrahams et al, 1999).
* At least 1 woman in Gauteng is killed by her male partner every six days (Vettan, 1995).
* One study of 159 women in the Western Cape found that 2% of the group had experienced marital rape and a further 12% sexual assault at the hands of their partners (Maconachie et al, 1994).
* 39% of young women in South Africa between the ages of 12-17 state they have been forced to have sex (LoveLife, 2000).
* About 423 cases of violence against women are reported every month in the 4 magisterial districts of Wynberg, Cape Town, Athlone, and Bellville.
(Newspaper article, no date given: "Violence Against women one of the Major challenges facing a new S.A." quoting NICRO)

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