JOHANNESBURG (AA) – South African President Jacob Zuma said Tuesday that the number of perpetrators receiving life sentences for violence against women and children has increased over the years.
“In total, 1832 criminals have been sentenced to life imprisonment since the year 2010,” Zuma said during the launch of an international awareness-raising campaign “16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children” in Reiger Park near Johannesburg.
He thanked community members for their contribution to this success rate.
“Most perpetrators are arrested and convicted because people report these cases, and also, they come forward as witnesses,” he said.
The South African leader reminded women and children that nobody should make them feel guilty for speaking out, even if the perpetrator is a family member.
“Today, we also want to send a clear message to the public. Abusers, murderers and rapists have no place in our communities,” he said.
Zuma went on to advise communities to work with the police and courts of law in a bid to ensure that criminals are arrested and convicted of crimes against women and children.
South Africa records many cases of violence against women and children annually.
Some of the cases include, rape, sexual harassment, “corrective rape” and domestic violence among others.
There have also been many cases recorded of women killed by their husbands, lovers or rapists. Children have also been victims of child rape, ritual killings among other forms of abuse.
Zuma said he believes the government was making progress in the fight against abuse of women and children but much more needs to be done and most of the work requires the support of communities.
“We cannot win this war working alone,” he said, going on to appeal for support from families and parents to the government in this regard.
“Irresponsible parents and guardians, who leave young children unattended and vulnerable to abuse are as guilty as those who commit the crime,” he said.
Every year, South Africa marks the campaign of “16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children” between 25 November and 10 December.
The theme for this year’s campaign is “Count Me In: Together Moving a Non-Violent South Africa forward.”
The launch of the campaign in South Africa coincides with the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The campaign ends on 10 December which is International Human Rights Day.
“While the international campaign is marked for 16 days, we urge all South Africans to ensure that this becomes a campaign for all 365 days of the year,” Zuma said.
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