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News > World

#TotalShutdown: Thousands of Women in South Africa March Against Gender Violence

  • "My body, my choice! #TheTotalShutDown #TotalShutdown #IWillMarch Our bodies are not your crime scenes!" | Photo: #TotalShutDown / Twitter

Published 2 August 2018

South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of violence against women, girls, and children with an alarmingly high rate of rape cases and murders.

Thousands of women in South Africa marched in the capital city of Pretoria Wednesday to protest against gender violence under the banner #TotalShutDown. 

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The march organized by WomenProtestSA, rallied behind the slogan "My body, not your crime scene" also coincides with the Women's Month throughout August and the upcoming National Women's Day on Aug. 9, where hundreds of women are expected to march to raise awareness of violence against women and children under the 'Total Shutdown' banner. 

South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of violence against women, girls, and children with an alarmingly high rate of rape cases and murders.  

South Africa's femicide rate is nearly five times more than the global rate. Per a report by Africa Check, the femicide rate globally in 2015 was 2.4 per 100,000 women, compared to South Africa's rate which was four times higher at 9.6 per 100,000 women. 

Women in the country live in fear of attacks every day and are saying enough is enough. "We are tired, they are killing us, our kids, our kids are raped every single day. Today, it must end," said Fundiswa Ndeyi, the CNN reported. 

"We are marching because we are saying enough is enough, we are tired of living in fear as women. It’s high time the government takes us serious as woman and takes this as a state of emergency because we are tired of being abused by men," said Sithandekile Sibanda, an activist. 
According to a 2016 survey, one in five South African women older than 18 has experienced gender-based violence. Activists say authorities have done little to stop the "war against women."

"We are not safe in the streets, we are not safe, we are not safe in the taxis, we are tired of men violating us, men talking to us as if we are their sexual objects. For me it means it’s now time for change, it’s now a time for a new South Africa, a South Africa where women are safe and free to go around and do what they want without fear without anything," Sibanda added.  

Per the Statistics South Africa report, "crime against women in South Africa recorded a 53 percent increase in sexual offenses in 2015/16, and at least 41 percent of reported rape cases in this country involve children. Africa check confirms that every four hours, a woman is killed in this country."
One of the many demands put forth by the group includes, "The prioritisation of the provision of legal aid to victims of gender-based violence against women and gender non-conforming people." 
Per the organizers' website, 'The Total Shutdown' marches will take place in eight provinces as well as in other African countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, and Namibia. 
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