Written by: Errol Naidoo
Article source: Supplied

South Africa was rocked by violent unrest over the past few weeks. News channels broadcasts images of burning buildings, gutted delivery vehicles and most horrifying, people being burned alive on the streets of the city. Foreigners were targeted and assaulted by armed mobs and stores looted and burned to the ground.

At the same time news broke of the rape and murder of several young women. Although these horrific crimes gripped the attention of the nation, sadly, the high rates of rapes, abuse and violence against women and children in South Africa are nothing new. 

The recent spike in sexual violence and murders of young women sparked a wave of outrage and protests across the country. On Friday 13 Sept, protesters shut down the Sandton business district in JHB demanding JSE listed companies commit 2% of profits to fight violence against women.

But even if corporates provide these funds, where will it be spent? Why do men rape and murder women and children? South Africa has comprehensive laws against rape, assault, abuse, sexual exploitation, trafficking, attempted murder, murder etc. This means, those perpetrating these heinous crimes know it’s wrong and unlawful – but they do it anyway.

Family Policy Institute

Research indicate most of the social ills we are grappling with are linked to family breakdown and dysfunction. The majority of young boys in South Africa are raised in fatherless homes. As a consequence, they grow up having no idea what it takes to be a responsible man or what a normal relationship between a man and woman looks like.

The criminal gangs plaguing Western Cape communities are primarily products of fatherless homes and dysfunctional families. The strict boundaries and ordered structure of gangs provide an alternative to broken and dysfunctional families. Gangs provide young men with a sense of identity, purpose and belonging – something they lack in fatherless homes.

Only 35% of children live with both biological parents in South Africa. Fatherless homes are a national scourge that no amount of government programs or money can fix. When men abandon their children the military must move into communities to maintain law and order.

The Dept of Education recently identified 1,345 hotspots of crime and violence. The breakdown of discipline and resulting chaos in schools is a tragic reflection of the state of the family in South Africa. Significantly, when family life disintegrates – all sectors of society are impacted by its negative consequences.

A growing number of children are exposed to hard-core online pornography in South Africa. The SA Law Reform Commission (SALRC) recognised this crisis and drafted legislation to better protect children from exposure. Tragically, the minds of a generation of young boys (and girls) are currently being warped by easily accessible images that degrade and devalue women.

Pornography typically portrays women as subservient and useful primarily for the sexual gratification of men. Pornography is violence against women and children. However, there is no national outrage against its harmful and proven social degradation of women and children.

Women and children are exploited and dehumanised in South Africa’s illegal sex industry daily. They are raped, abused, exploited, bought and sold like common merchandise in brothels and on streets by crime syndicates – without a peep from women’s groups, the media and government.

In fact, despite a nine year investigation of adult prostitution by the SALRC unveiling the horrors of the sex industry in SA, the ruling ANC declared their support for decriminalized prostitution. When women and children are legitimately bought and sold on the streets of our cities, how do we realistically promote the value and dignity of women in society?

Monogamous heterosexual marriage is a cornerstone institution of society. There are mountains of evidence supporting the argument that marriage and the family undergirds strong, healthy and prosperous societies. When marriages disintegrate, society collapses. Redefining foundational institutions like marriage will be catastrophic for an already failing society. Marriage has always been a social good for men, women, children and general society.


Family breakdown and fatherless homes is the training ground for dysfunctional men and women. Regular exposure to online pornography including sexual indoctrination like CSE in public schools reinforces the harmful stereotype that women are sex objects. A decriminalised sex industry legitimises and normalises the sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children by pimps, brothel owners and organised crime networks – led primarily by men.

Family breakdown also directly contributes to spiraling welfare budgets and is the greatest drag on economic prosperity. Family breakdown is often blamed on poverty. But in reality, family breakdown is often the cause of poverty. In most cases, intact families fare better economically.

The Christian Church’s silence on these critical issues may be a contributing factor to the high rates of violence and abuse of women and children in South Africa. The restoration and strengthening of the family is the only sure way to reverse the terrible scourge of violence and sexual abuse of women and children. Young boys and girls need positive role models – and It starts in a stable, healthy and loving family.

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Date published: 19/09/2019

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