CAPE TOWN: 25 November 2022

For the next 16 Days the Women’s Legal Centre will join the global community in commemorating the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which will run from 25 November to 10 December 2022, under the theme “UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls”.

South Africa has been recorded as having the highest levels of inequality in the world and we have the highest rate of violence against women and femicide for a country not in conflict. Activists such as the WLC have been arguing over the past 20 years that in fact women in South Africa are living their lives in a conflict zone. The official South African Police Statistics estimate that there were 42,289 rape cases reported in 2019/2020, as well as 7,749 sexual assaults. This translates into about 115 cases of rape a day. The response from the police – as well as the government as a whole underscores the failure to appreciate the systemic nature of the problem.

Rape, domestic violence, and other crimes perpetrated against women has largely been normalised, and too little emphasis is being placed on measures that need to be in place to hold the state, but also perpetrators accountable for the violence that women endure.

The Centre recognises that it is uniquely placed to provide support to not only individual women who are experiencing systemic challenges within the legal system when they seek to access justice, but also to provide strategic support to activists, women’s rights organisations, movements and community-based advice offices. The Centre’s intersectional feminist approach recognises that women are not a homogenous group, and that individuals experience discrimination and its impact differently.

Furthermore, women and black women in particular face multiple intersecting forms of discrimination. It is therefore essential for the Centre in the way that it works to ensure that we address the multiple intersecting forms of discrimination that relate to and impact on women’s ability to respond to violence. Collaboration and solidarity is therefore key to ensuring that our activism impacts the lives of ordinary South African women and girls. 

The Centre is often women’s first port of information related to how they can access information and tools to address the violence they are experiencing in their homes, public spaces and places of work. For the 16 Days of Activism the Centre will focus on providing women access to paralegal assistance through our Legal Advice Unit where women will be able to obtain information on how our legal system functions, what their rights are and how and where they can demand access to justice.

The Women’s Legal Centre is an African feminist legal centre that advances women’s rights and equality using tools such as litigation, advocacy, education, advice, research and training.

For media enquiries, contact the WLC Communications Team at

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