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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Men in larger households more likely to experience GBV – survey

Survey reveals most of us do not feel safe in our communities


A study this week has revealed the deeply concerning impact of violence on communities and the mental health of employees in the country.

The 2023 Violence Survey, an initiative presented by RCS in partnership with BNP Paribas and the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI), was released on Wednesday.

Violence

Siphathisiwe Dhlamini, Conflict Resolution & Peace Building Expert at WPDI, said while the 2023 results painted a picture of declining violence across several key categories, there were concerns about the impact on people and communities.

“Despite these gains, 77% of respondents reported feeling unsafe in their community. Of particular interest was the perceived correlation between safety and security issues and the prevailing cost of living prices.

“83% of respondents feel that violence in general has increased due to the rising cost of living, with 85% of community members attributing higher levels of violence to the ongoing load shedding,” Dhlamini said.

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Perpetrators

Dhlamini said the survey found that strangers remained the main perpetrators of violence, increasing from 57% in 2022 to 63% in 2023.

“The second most common perpetrators of violence were gang members. Although the frequency of gang-related violence decreased significantly from 53% in 2022 to 34% in 2023.

Impact on employees

Sandi Richardson, HR Executive at RCS, highlighted the impact of violence on employees.

“According to our survey, 87% of corporate leaders observed a significant impact on presenteeism, where employees, though physically present, struggled to perform due to mental or physical distress.

“Additionally, 91% of corporates noted an increased impact on employees’ mental health and well-being compared to 2022. These findings underscore the interconnectedness of employees’ life experiences and their workplace performance,” Richardson said.

GBV

For the first time ever, this year’s survey also included a key focus on the impact of GBV on men in these communities.

The survey found that 42% of men in 2023 experienced GBV. The data also suggests that males in larger households are more likely to experience GBV, and that compared to female counterparts, the nature of GBV is more likely to be a threat for money rather than sexual assault.

Additionally, the results found that men are 6% more likely to be threatened with a weapon, and 2% more likely to be kidnapped or abducted than women.

Richardson added that there is a need for increased police collaboration.

Police collaboration

She said police must be supported as they are the respondent when violent crimes happen.

“We cannot do it without them. It’s really imperative to safeguard individuals. The police really need to be encouraged to engage individuals with empathy. They have to deal with victims of the worst kinds of violence.

“Increased vigilance is really important in safeguarding the well-being of individuals who have a right to live in a secure environment and have a right to thrive. Equally, it is critical to equip and reskilling our authorities in how to engage with empathy to victims of violence,” Richardson said.

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