'Women hurt by their men'

CONCERNED: Population Council's Saiqa Mullick and Rachel Jewkes of gender and health research for SA's Medical Research Council. 07/05/09. Pic. Katlego Moeng. © Sowetan.
CONCERNED: Population Council's Saiqa Mullick and Rachel Jewkes of gender and health research for SA's Medical Research Council. 07/05/09. Pic. Katlego Moeng. © Sowetan.

Katlego Moeng and Nawhal Kara

Katlego Moeng and Nawhal Kara

South Africa has the highest per capita alcohol consumption level in the world - and when our men get drunk, our women get hurt.

The Population Council, an international group that seeks to improve the wellbeing and reproductive health around the world released these dire findings at a USAid conference in Benoni this week.

"Constructions of masculinity that are predicated on marked gender hierarchy, toughness, bravery and defence of honour readily translate into risk taking and readiness to use violence to assert power," said the council's local director Saiqa Mullick.

Another study presented yesterday showed that 27percent of all domestic violence was attributable to men who as children had witnessed abuse.

Rachel Jewkes, a professor who directs gender and health research for South Africa's Medical Research Council, said 73percent of men who rape do so by the age of 20. And about 40percent of rape victims are children.

She noted that KwaZulu-Natal's first New Year baby this year was conceived by rape.

Jewkes said in South Africa six times more women are killed by a partner than the global average, which translates into a woman being killed every six hours by a partner.

In the Western Cape two-thirds of women killed by partners were drunk, as were the men who murdered them.

Shockingly, few of the people responsible for dealing with rape victims had any training, which was reflected in their scant knowledge of post-rape management.

The report also showed that in 65percent of cases the victim knew the perpetrator, with the proportion rising among younger victims.

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