Black men and white women most likely to back women bashing, study finds

Abuse. Stock Image
Abuse. Stock Image
Image: Stock

A significant number of black men and white women in South Africa believe it is acceptable for a man to hit a woman.

This was revealed in a Statistics SA report titled Crime Against Women in South Africa released this week.

Black African males recorded the highest percentage of individuals who found it acceptable for a man to hit a woman followed by white women.

The report also revealed that 3.3% of all South African men believed it is acceptable for a man to hit a woman, while in terms of population groups 3.8% of black Africans share that belief.

And unexpectedly 2.6% of white women thought that it was acceptable for women to be hit by men, with 2.5% of black women sharing the same sentiment.

"This is an unexpected result because most white women live in urban areas where there's greater exposure to human rights issues and liberal thinking," the report stated.

Gender activist Mbuyiselo Botha said the finding of the report was not surprising as it stems from "horrible teachings" brought about by culture and religion.

"We are taught that women must be disciplined to toe the line, they're reduced to be like minors by both religion and culture," Botha said.

The report, which is based on data from a survey on the victims of crime, also showed that the murder rate for women in the country increased by 117% between 2015 and 2016/17 despite a declining trend recorded in men's murder rates over the same period.

A low 0.9% of coloured women and 1.1% of Indians found it acceptable for a man to hit a woman. Only 1% of Indian or Asian men agreed that it was acceptable for a man to hit a woman, with coloured and white men at 1.5% and 1.4% respectively.

Koketso Moeti, founder of civil engagement platform Amandla.Mobi, said the report affirmed what many women had experienced.

"We are in a state of crisis... we need to move beyond diagnosis and start doing something about it," she said.

Moeti said the organisation had joined calls for the establishment of a national strategic plan to combat gender-based violence.

"Women have been failed by the very same institutions that are meant to protect them including the police, the ministry [of women] and even public transportation with rapes of women in taxis."

The report also found that women somehow have the same pattern of attitude towards domestic violence as men. "Attitudes and beliefs are the key factors that drive crime and particularly violence against women.

"Non-progressive attitudes amongst people of South Africa, including women, remain a major challenge," the report stated.

The report showed that 49% of women felt unsafe walking in their own neighbourhood both during the day and when it is dark.

However, 54% of women stated that they would feel "very unsafe" walking alone when it is dark.

Some 48% of men indicated that they felt very unsafe walking alone in the dark.

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