The day to day struggles of South African women

By Wandiswa Ntengento 
South Africa is a nation that boasts a rich history of political independence and cultural diversity .This is the same country that previously faced racial division, political oppression and social injustice during apartheid. However, this social war ended and a rainbow nation was birthed. 
Even though South Africa has been emancipated from the apartheid regime and so called gender inequality structures have been removed, women still face oppression and abuse.
Organisations such as People Opposing Women Abuse have been fundamental in addressing issues of abuse and degradation of women in South Africa.
According to a 2012 report by the think-tank the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), South Africa has extremely high levels of sexual assault. The South African Police Service released a crime report in September 2012 that states that  in 2011/2012 there were a total of 9 193 sexual offences reported to the South African Police Services in the Western Cape. This means that just under 27 cases per day were reported. In total, 64 514 sexual offences were reported countrywide for that period.
Even though government has implemented laws to protect females,women in South Africa have particularly found it difficult to trust and find safety in men.Not only are women faced with issues of rape they have also come head to head with a growing trend of poverty and child headed homes.The National Planning Commission says povertyamong women-headed households is higher than the average and women continue to earn less than men, even though differences in years of education have largely been narrowed. About 61 percent of women live in poverty, and 31 percent live in destitution, compared with 39 percent and 18 percent of men.
There are various factors that have contributed to the oppression of women in South Africa. Vital Foundation contributes the abuse of women in the South Africanenvironment to violence. The nature of violence stems from a very painful past that has taken time to address. Consequently,women have become punching bags and sex machines because issues in our society have simply been bottled.
The South African government is however working together with the Human Rights Commission in eliminating the oppression of women by running a 16 day campaign to raise awareness and address policy issues relating to the abuse of women. 
These measures taken by the South African government and various organisations have given hope to many women in South Africa but reality is that South Africa still has a long way to go until women are entirely integrated in the day to day decision making and policy making.