Skip to content
The basic facts about women abuse
The only way we can stop the cycle of domestic violence and women abuse, is to come together and end the silence.

This is a safe space for you to discover how to do that. Your way.

The Basic Facts About Women Abuse

There is no universal experience of women abuse; every case is different. However, there are trends and patterns that paint a picture of the violence experienced by women in South Africa.

GBV (Gender-Based Violence) is the term used to describe any violence that occurs as a result of role expectations associated with each gender, as well as the unequal power relationships between the genders. In South Africa, one in five women older than 18 has experienced physical violence.
* This violence includes physical, verbal and emotional abuse, whether occurring in public or private life.

While anyone can be a victim of gender-based violence, women are disproportionately harmed by gender-based violence. Women and girls are the most at risk of gender-based violence, with recent crime statistics finding that a woman is murdered every three hours in South Africa.

Domestic abuse is a type of GBV, but this can be more than just physical abuse. It is any physical, emotional or financial behaviour that:

  • Controls another person.
  • Causes physical harm or fear.
  • Makes someone do things they do not want to do.
  • Prevents someone from doing things they want to do.

Abused women usually experience multiple forms of abuse. The abuse often takes on the form of intimidation, manipulation, injury and humiliation. It can happen to people in different types of relationships, including married couples, live-in lovers and co-parents.

Abusive relationships are complex situations which take a lot of courage to leave. When a survivor leaves an abusive relationship, the perpetrator's sense of power and control is threatened, and this may cause the abuser to retaliate.

That is why leaving is one of the most dangerous things a survivor can do.

The misconception about abused women who stay is that ‘’it can’t be that bad’’. The reality is that there are many factors that don’t allow them to leave an abusive relationship.

  • Financial dependence on the abuser.
  • Lack of knowledge of her rights.
  • Belief that the police can’t or won’t help her.
  • Belief that she, as a woman deserves the abuse.
  • Belief that the abuser will change or that she can make it stop if she tries hard enough.
  • The abuser may forbid her to see other people or threaten to harm people she cares for.
  • Those she turns to for help may not believe her or blame her.
  • Shame and embarrassment about the abuse.
  • Belief that the children need their father.
Whatever the reason, leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult. Leaving an abuser can feel impossible if the victim does not have access to the right support. You can learn more about ending the silence here.
*2016, Gender-Based Violence in SA.