South African President lament surge in violence against against women.

South Africa’s president says it has been a “dark and shameful week” for his country following a surge in violence against women.

Cyril Ramaphosa’s remarks come after several femicides, including one woman who was eight months pregnant and found stabbed and hanging from a tree.

He noted they had occurred since some coronavirus restrictions were lifted, including a ban on the sale of alcohol.

The culture of silence around gender-based violence had to end, he said.

“Gender-based violence thrives in a climate of silence. With our silence, by looking the other way because we believe it is a personal or family matter, we become complicit in this most insidious of crimes,” President Ramaphosa said.

As many as 51% of women in South Africa had experienced violence at the hands of someone they were in a relationship with, the president’s statement said.

Mr Ramaphosa condemned the brutality of recent killings, naming three of the victims, two of whom have become the subject of Twitter campaigns calling for justice:

Tshegofatso Pule – #JusticeForTshego began trending after the pregnant 28-year-old was found hanging from a tree in Johannesburg on Monday. No arrests have been made yet.

Naledi Phangindawo – the 25-year-old was stabbed to death in the harbour city of Mossel Bay last Saturday. Those using the hashtag #JusticeforNaledi want the suspect, who is now in police custody, to be denied bail. He is believed to be her partner.

The president said another young woman had been dumped under a tree in Johannesburg’s Soweto township on Friday.

Police later named her as Sanele Mfaba, sparking another hashtag that began trending on Saturday – #JusticeforSanelisiwe – calling for more to be done to protect women.

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