Finding ways to drastically reduce gender-based violence in South Africa has never been more urgent.
Addressing GBV in South Africa requires a multi-faceted approach. Technological innovations such as app-based security services can play a valuable role.
According to the United Nations, GBV is “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women. This includes threats of violence, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private”.
GBV is rife in South Africa and statistics from online knowledge portal SaferSpaces illustrate just how severe the problem is.
Information gathered over the last 10 years shows:
The World Health Organization also indicates that femicide in South Africa is five times higher than the global average.
In response to the increase in GBV during the COVID-19 pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced three new bills in Parliament designed to bring justice to victims and survivors of GBV.
While this is a step in the right direction, the bills don’t give women a solution to the problem.
Most women don’t report incidents of GBV, and even if it is reported, the reporting process can be traumatic. Survivors often have to relive the incident and many South African Police Service (SAPS) stations don’t have trained personnel or facilities to accommodate those that report GBV.
These factors, combined with the immense strain which the SAPS is under during the current pandemic, place the women of South Africa in a very vulnerable position.
Education, police reform and new legislation are all needed to stop violence against women and help survivors of GBV. These solutions can take years, if not decades, to implement, and South Africa needs solutions now.
At AURA, we continue to investigate ways in which smart technology can help make people safer, and our experience with on-demand private armed response technology platforms has shown promise.
App-based security services specifically have the potential to help reduce some incidents of GBV in the country.
Being safe is a basic human right and should be treated as such. The journey to making South Africa safe is a long one and requires input from multiple stakeholders. Private armed response, and the innovative new apps that effectively and affordably connect consumers to them, show potential in addressing GBV.