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Helping young women find their wings
Many women in South Africa are either victims or survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), with South Africa having one of the highest GBVF statistics in the world, including rape and domestic violence. With 1 woman killed every 3 hours, almost 50% of all assaults are committed by someone close such as a friend or acquaintance (22%), a spouse or intimate partner (15%), a relative or other household member (13%). 1-in-5 partnered women experience physical violence by a partner in their lifetime. About 29% of assaults are committed by unknown persons.
GBVF: SOUTH AFRICA’S SECOND PANDEMIC
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in several lockdown protocols, exposed and exacerbated existing gender inequalities as GBVF began to increase significantly. This was because victims were forced to be closed indoors with their perpetrators. The increase of GBVF statistics during that time was a reminder of the need to have contingent mitigation mechanisms in place to protect the marginalised, women and girls.
People living with disabilities, either living at home or in institutions, including women have also registered abusive treatment and poor living conditions.
Sadly, GBV is not the only issue that affects the dignity of young women. There are 7 000 000 girls in South Africa between the ages of 13 and 19. This is the school going age of menstruating girls. Statistically, 4 000 000 of these girls do not have regular access to sanitary products.
Research has shown that poor menstrual health management has detrimental effects on a young woman’s education. The lack of access to sanitary wear and adequate sanitation facilities may affect a young woman’s attendance to school by 25% per year. That is one week per month that massively sets them back in their school careers.
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