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South Africa: Government Should Address ‘Culture of Rape’
On Women’s Day in South Africa—coming three days after women activists silently protested in front of President Zuma as he was delivering a speech —Freedom House released the following statement:
“President Zuma’s government should urgently address South Africa's epidemic of gender-based violence and listen to the South African women who are demanding real change," said Lynn Fredriksson, director for Southern Africa programs. “From the president down, everyone should remember that Women’s Day marks the 60th anniversary of the 1956 march in which 20,000 South African women protested apartheid South Africa’s excessive control over their movement and the general abuse of their rights."
During President Zuma’s August 6 speech on the results of nationwide local elections, four women activists stood in front of the podium, holding posters, some saying “I am 1 in 3,” and “Remember Khwezi.” The women sought to attract attention to the one in three South African women who suffer sexual abuse during their lifetime. The women activists also spoke out for the woman named Khwezi who 10 years ago alleged she was raped by the president, charges of which he was acquitted. The women’s demonstration has since become known as the #RememberKhwezi protest.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.