Paper Example on Gender-Based Violence in South Africa

Published: 2023-01-29
Paper Example on Gender-Based Violence in South Africa
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Gender Violence
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1842 words
16 min read


Gender-based violence always referred to as a human-based and community healthiness matter that not only affects an individual but also to families in both the short and long term. Individual consequences might include physical effects such as chronic pain, headaches, deaths, miscarriages bruises, broken bones, and even early labor. It also causes psychological issues that include; trauma, health abuse, and substance use, mental stress disorder, and objectives due to trauma, and depression. This type of violence does drain a person's confidence and therefore underlining their activeness in both economic and social development. This type of abuse is spread worldwide, with Africa having the highest rate of encountered sexual abuses and intimate partner violence (IPV) together with sexual harassments between people who are not partners in the world. More meanings refer or explains the meaning of the gender bases violence and can be generally be referred to as a broad term which is used to curb or report violence that happens due to normative responsibilities. They are expected and involves the different genders whereby it also involves the inequality in power and positions relationship between the different genders within the platform of a specified community. The expected results from the gender relationships, which varies between societies also change over time (Jewkes and Laubsher, 2015). Different powerful authorities in most of the societies are understood as male leadership and power is perceived as the culture and regarded that men should hold the major structure of a powerful authority. This is referred to as a patriarchy whereby the governmental systems and social system favors men that they are superior to the women and in case the pressured side of the women are denied even to secure their bodies, search for their daily needs, perform as part of the community system and also the men showing harshness against the women without hesitation.

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In South Africa, violence, which is involved by gender, is widespread and has become a major problem, which is increasing and underreported. WHO has also pointed out that South Africa is one of the countries with the utmost number of viciousness against women globally. Their alcohol consumption rate has largely contributed it. South Africa was named the leading in African adult per capita alcohol consumption statistics.

These acts being a current issue affecting every spectrum of the world, there is a need for it to be pointed out and stopped. This paper elaborates on the causes and impacts of violence based on gender in South Africa. It also tries to point out various socio-legal aspects that can be in cooperated to be able to manage it.

Types of Gender Violence

There are different types of gender-based viciousness in world. They start from family violence, Actual Physical Violence, Spiritual or Psychological violence, Social violence up to sexually-based Violence. Most of these assaults affect the female gender and mostly the adolescent girls (Sigsworth, 2009); Tshwaranang Legal Centre 2012 wg. The violence seems ever to exist as women take the lowest level on the society with low socio-economic status to defend themselves from these abuses.

Causes of Violence

Studies show that most of the violence is learned; this may be through observation or experience such as; domestic fights, poor parenting, and lack of a role model from the family. For example, a child who has grown up in a household characterized by violence is most likely to perform it in their relationships naturally. Which proves to be different when compared to those brought up in a healthy relationship environment. It clearly explains how important a child's first education is vital for his/her future life. Even though there might be mediating factors that prevent the children from normalizing. This type of violence, it always comes late in their life hence having less impact on their judgment.

Hegemonic Masculinity

The man in both the US and SA's communal or social environment is considered the head of the house, protector, and provider. With the current state of the economy caused by the financial crisis and unemployment, making them unable to archive in providing them, (Reid and Walker ,2005) That makes them compensate by over-emphasizing on other aspects of masculinity. These alternatives tend to mostly involve the use of violence or risky sexual life of having multiple partners. Studies show that lower economic status leads to higher stress. Hence the need for having outlets of reducing stress.

Cultural and Traditional Norms

South African has one of the most diverse and most practiced cultural and traditional norms. These cultures have seen GBV practiced without questions through polygamy, female circumcision, and bride price payment. An example of these courses is the bride price payment, which most men assume that 'own' the wife hence using it to justify his violent deeds towards her. It also motivates men to sire more children to have multiple numbers of girls to be exchanged for livestock. Other parents would even marry off their adolescent aged girls to older men. Polygamy has also been a significant reason for gender-biased violence. It portrays a dense likeliness of women to experience spousal physical violence as compared to the monogamous marriage.

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Alcohol and substance abuse is one of the significant core reasons that lead to gender-based violence. Studies show that drugs and substance use have stimulated more than 65% of the cases of abuse by men. The prevailing gender norms have motivated the male gender to involve and prevail in violence with manliness and to take risks in by engaging in activities such as alcoholism. Most of the alcoholic abusers use the excuse of being drunk to prove their innocence, besides their spouses always defend them as to goodhearted when not drunk. This support has seen them take advantage of their partners and inflict more violence than those who are not drunk. Even though most disorder affects women, men who abuse many types of drugs and substances are violated too. Though they exist, Most of them do not get reported. But when personally asked men accept to have experienced or witnessed it.


South Africa, likewise to the United States, has experienced a significant number of deaths through firearms. South Africa estimates around 18 deaths daily caused by fatalities compared to the US of 32. In South Africa, Likely, two out of three women in a relationship with a partner owning a gun get murdered (Reid and Walker, 2005). This statistic indicates that gun ownership, either the rule being advisable and allowed or illegal, develops the risk of sexual violence to women. With guns added to their masculinity, men use it to intimidate, threaten, and administer their power of ownership over their partners. The treats hence establish fear and at times may take action of killing their partners and themselves and other times they take their children's lives too.

Legal Factors

Even though the South African government just as the United States government, have enacted policies and laws to manage gender-based violence, there are still cases of these issues. The police and judiciary who are expected to implement these laws have failed to give protection to the victims (Gass, 2010). Analysis has depicted that most of the authoritative personnel are reluctant to help the affected members for they see this matter as a personal affair amongst the partners. Which has reduced the fear of committing such violence since one knows there are fewer penalties towards it, and at times, they may get away with it without punishment.

Underdevelopments of Gender-Based Violence

The overwhelming cases of these acts have demonstrated a large quantity of evidence documenting physical, psychological, and behavioral consequences.

Physical pain may be related and involved with physical, mental discomforts, pain in the back, development of cataracts, vascular discomforts, uterus infections, HIV infection, and unplanned families.

Mental affections involves post-traumatic pressure discomforts, common depression, generalized fear discomforts.

Behavioral effects are Alcohol and substance misuses, Suicide-based ideation, low esteem of self, poor decision making due to lack of courage, and stigmatization (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

There might be other indirect complications such as infertility, low economic production, job loss, and even directly affecting children due to death of parents through suicide or killings, poor parenting, and divorce.

Potential Solutions

South Africa is one of the most affected international cooperate nation on violence involving gender. Just as the US it has a robust administrative structure, including The Domestic Violence Act of 1998, sexual-based violence Act of 2017 and the Curbing and making efficient the Human trafficking of 2013. Even though this legislature exists, it can not be enough to end GBV. Some other possible potential solutions may include:

Funding Women’s Active Relationship in the Social Community.

The inability of women to support themselves due to culture and norms left them with no economic power to remain independent hence turned to rely on the men for their sustainability. Which will make them active in civil society (Ludsin, & Vetten, 2005) With this kind of boost will enable them to improve their economical rates and be independent hence be useful in the role of influencing regional and national treaties.

Lowering the Gender-Based Violence Clinical Services

Currently, the gender-based services are on the higher-level health facilities, which are inaccessible to people with a low economic status. When lowered, these services might help to reduce the impact of this violence by quick access to health care that might help prevent deaths, HIV infection through the emergency services.

Children Protection

Even though children are always on the top of the least of those affected by gender-based violence, they are not well recognized. Concentration is mostly put towards the mother hence leaving children helpless. Putting a touch of help in these children might help reduce the post-traumatic disorder of their experiences majorly when it involved a member of their family (Abrahams, 2016). The state's system of having professional to deal with children is not there hence need to be put in place and be active.

Establishing Gender Equality

This forms of the program have proven to work before. But there is a need to have a better approach to uphold and improve the representation of women in power to help spearhead the fight against gender-based violence. This form of the program is useful when well approached and implemented on a larger scale rather than the small piloting programs that are less effective in marginalized communities.

With this program set, its implementation should be put in place since most of them have been tried before and failed with time due to poor management. These programs, therefore, should run concurrently with the governments' policies to archive a better and diverse outcome.


South Africa experiences more effects of violence involved with gender inequalities, levels that are often pointed out as an example worldwide. Notably, their history has assisted in the development of various causes of this violence other than the dominant cultural factors. These factors, from their account of the Apartheid rigid, includes income inequality, witnessed or experienced violence, gender inequality, and the normalized rape culture. It is indisputable that these factors form the primary bedrock for the existence of violence based on gender in South Africa.

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