Crime statistics are an annual ritual to mourn the never-ending violation of women and children

Every year, the Minister of Police reveals, amongst other figures, how many more women and girls have been murdered or raped, but very little about how it will be prevented in the coming year.

The release of the crime statistics is an annual ritual to mourn the nameless women and girls who will be no more than a mere figure in our collective memories. But in the minds and hearts of their loved ones, the gaping hole is yet to be filled. Each year, we wait with bated breathes to hear the Minister of Police deliver the annual figures, and each year we must demand solutions. Each year, we must ask for accountability, we must ask what will change, this time. These statistics come a few weeks after the brutal gang rape that took place in Krugersdorp and a few months after the national outcry regarding the murder of Namhla Mtwa. And many have been violated and killed since.

The figures are a clear indication that we live in an unsafe world. We live in an unsafe country, women and children in this country are victims, they continue to fall victim to the crimes committed in this country.

"While we do see that murder has gone up, and that murder affects all genders. But we cannot ignore the fact that women and children are the most vulnerable, particularly when we hear of 9560 rapes that were recorded,” says Phinah Kodisang, the CEO of Soul City Institute.

There is nothing to celebrate about the 500 decrease that has been reported, because we know that the statistics that we are seeing are not a true representation of the picture.

"There is generally a distrust of the police. So, people don't go and report and therefore whatever numbers that we see, are not a true reflection of the levels of violence women and children face in our country.”

All South Africans have a duty to lower these numbers every day until violence and rape were no longer the status quo. In order to do this, we will require the collective will to end rape and femicide as well as the structural and institutional support needed such as the full implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, which activists fought tooth and nail to have development. While we can all contribute to the changing of the statistics, the political will of those in power is integral to the fulfillment of policies, laws and budgets that enable dedication to end GBV and femicide.

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