The shadow pandemic – Don’t be a victim, break the silence!

19 Nov 2021

Gender-based violence during lockdown in South Africa

As the COVID-19 pandemic ran rampant in our society, a second pandemic of domestic violence raged in the homes of innocent women.

The effects of COVID-19 on domestic violence

The shadow pandemic refers to the growing rates of domestic violence against women and girls amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Domestic violence takes a toll on many of our friends, colleagues and family on a frighteningly regular basis. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been forced to live in more secluded and isolated environments, which has had a direct effect on domestic violence. We have had less access to help and have been more exposed to abusive environments that could have been avoided more regularly in the past.

According to the Africa Health Organisation, 51% of women in South Africa have experienced gender-based violence, with 76% of men saying they’ve committed gender-based violence at least once in their lives.

A rise in domestic violence cases during the COVID-19 health crisis has sparked a global effort to act against this atrocity. Victims of gender-based violence are not receiving the appropriate service, support and treatment, resulting in an upsurge in incident rates.

Living with your abuser

Under lockdown, we all found ourselves confined in our homes, which proved to be harder than we could have anticipated. Isolated from help, many were subjected to beatings and endless abuse, with no one to hear their cries and offer a helping hand. In the first week of lockdown alone, the GBV (Gender-Based Violence) Command Centre received 2300 calls, with many victims out of reach of service providers and trapped in quarantine with their abusers.

Our unlimited Trauma Counselling line is open to our clients, which offers you access to professional help from a qualified psychologist. This is how our service works:

16 days of activism for no violence against women and children campaign

This is a United Nations campaign, supported by our South African government, which takes place annually from 25 November to 10 December to raise awareness of the negative impact of violence and abuse against women and children. It is aimed to empower women to protect themselves against violence and to encourage women and children to report incidents of rape, assault and psychological harm.

How to play your part to curb GBV

How to protect yourself from domestic violence

  • Learn a self-defence skill
  • Join a support group
  • Get a protection order against your perpetrator – Click here to see how
  • Seek professional counselling
  • Have a friend or family member to call or a place to go in case of an emergency

Organisations that can help in cases of domestic violence and abuse:

  • South African Police Service (SAPS) 10111
  • People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) +27 (11) 642 4345
  • South African Human Rights Commission +27 (11) 484 8300
  • LIFELINE +27 (11) 728 1347 / 0861 322 322
  • Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) +27 (11) 403 7182
  • Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) +27 (12) 320 0431
  • Stop Women Abuse 0800 150 150
  • Childline +27 (11) 938 8745 FAMSA National +27 (11) 833 2057

Legal&Tax is proud to be a partner with People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA)

With Legal&Tax you’re not alone

Contact us for guidance and assistance:

Article sourced from Legal&Tax.

Written by Buhle Sibanyoni – Content & Community Manager at Legal&Tax.

See also:

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)
Get In Touch!

Family Law articles by

Family Law articles on GoLegal