Femicide rates South Africa women

Photo: NotAStatisticSA / Twitter

Femicide rates: South Africa vs the rest of the world

South Africa has done a lot of soul-searching this week, and it hasn’t been a comfortable experience. Our femicide rates are “five times” the global average.

Femicide rates South Africa women

Photo: NotAStatisticSA / Twitter

South Africa is reeling at the moment, and our beloved country is making international headlines for all the wrong reasons. The murders of a UCT student and a well-known boxing champ have lit a fire underneath an enraged society, as protests and demonstrations against gender-based violence and femicide get underway in Mzansi.

As the World Economic Forum kicks off in Cape Town on Wednesday, hundreds of “silent protesters” have descended upon the Mother City’s Convention Centre. Instead of playing host to esteemed foreign dignitaries and celebrating our strengths on the global stage, South Africa is having to fight fires on its own doorstep.

What does femicide mean?

Stats SA defines femicide as: “The intentional killing of females (women or girls) because they are females.”  Several high-profile cases have caused huge levels of outrage over the past few years. The Karobo Mokoena case and the brutal murder of Hannah Cornelius sparked waves of anger, but the reaction to the aforementioned killings over the past week has hit like a tsunami.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is under enormous pressure to deliver serious changes that can protect the women of South Africa, many of whom no longer feel safe in our fractured society. In a series of Tweets posted on Tuesday evening, he called on all citizens to play their part to protect females:

Femicide rate in South Africa vs the rest of the world

But just how bad is South Africa’s femicide crisis? Well, for a bit of context, France is said to be among the countries with the highest rate of women killed by their partner, with 0.18 victims per 100,000 women (according to 2017 Eurostat figures shared by the BBC).

These figures have prompted the French government to plough millions of euros into tackling the problem, with around 1 000 women’s shelters and a mass audit of police stations planned. They are taking the threat seriously, and so are Italy: They’ve announced a “Code Red” emergency to combat their 0.11 femicide rate.

How many women are killed in South Africa each year?

In Mzansi, however, the femicide rate is an absolute behemoth compared to that of its European counterparts. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 12.1 in every 100 000 women are victims of femicide in SA each year – a figure which is over 100 times worse than Italy in their newly-announced “state of crisis”, and five times worse than the global average of 2.6

However, the actual murder rate of women is even higher. Not every case can be defined under the blanket term of “femicide”. So when we include other factors (provided to us by the South African Police Service), we see that there are 15.2 female victims in every 100 000. By those calculations, a woman is murdered every three hours in South Africa.

Worst murder rates of women by country

Surprisingly, there are three countries with a higher femicide rate than South Africa. Honduras, by a wide margin, has the dishonour of being the worst place in the world for the murder of women – their femicide rate stands at a despicable 32.7 – more than double that of its nearest competitor, Jamaica (15.5).

Our neighbours in Lesotho complete the top three, recording a rate of 15.4 murdered women out of every 100 000 citizens. South Africa is fourth – according to the WHO – and Guinea-Bissau completes the top five with 11.1:

RankLocationFemicide rate per 100 000 women
4South Africa12.5
7El Salvador10.6
8Trinidad and Tobago10.5
9Côte d’Ivoire10.3

[Additional content from AfricaCheck]