Violence, masculinity and femicide: a complex web of abuse in SA

As many South Africans mourn the death of 22-year-old Karabo Mokoena, violence against women (in particular femicide) has come into sharp focus.

Femicide, described as the misogynist violence against women because of a their gender, is all too familiar in the country says gender and health researcher Prof Naeemah Abrahams.

Abrahams says while femicide is a result of complex factors, violent masculinities play a significant role.

It's about intimate relationships, how women are viewed, how they are controlled and sexual entitlement.

Prof Naeemah Abrahams , Deputy Director: Gender & Health Research Unit at the Medical Research Council

In particular, the professor says that men who experience violent childhoods are more likely to be violent towards women partners.

According to 2009 data, which may be outdated, more than 1000 are killed every year by the hands of women, Abrahams says.

If we calculate it, that means that it's three women killed per day in 2009 by an intimate partner.

Prof Naeemah Abrahams , Deputy Director: Gender & Health Research Unit at the Medical Research Council

She advises that the rate of femicide in South Africa is several time higher than the global average, with as many as 20% of perpetrators unidentified.

The professor explains that there are various reasons why women in abusive relationships struggle to walk away, including familial pressure, death threats, economic dependence and other issues surrounding gender inequality.

Take a listen to her explore the nuanced factors:


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