Domestic Abuse and Violence in South Africa with Specific Focus on Abuse and Violence Against Women by Women

Current discourse on “gender-based violence” is sometimes confusing and lopsided because it often seems to portray the idea that violence against women is driven by the culturally prescribed roles of women vis-à-vis men, and men as the perpetrators of domestic abuse and violence. Using a nationally representative sample of women who had ever been in a union aged 18 years and over in the 2016 South Africa Demographic and Health Survey, this study examined forms of domestic violence, prevalence as well as predisposing factors and health consequences in South Africa. The results indicate that about 43% of the women reported they had experienced one form of domestic violence or abuse as of 2016. The results further indicate that women are also perpetrators of domestic physical violence against their husband or partner but on a smaller scale. While legislation and penal sanctions may deter violence against women and against men, these may not be sufficient to curb domestic abuse and violence. Advocacy through the socialisation agents beginning from the home should emphasise the equality of men and women rather than the superiority of one sex.


Author: Emeritus Professor Eric O Udjo (PhD, London) 2023

violence by women on women