2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the Global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which runs from 25 November (International Day Against Violence Against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

Despite three decades of ardent campaigns to end gender-based violence (GBV), hundreds of millions of women and girls continue to be abused, deprived of their human rights and killed, in most cases by their intimate partners. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a tremendous surge in GBV globally, with instances of intimate partner violence doubling in some countries.

The proliferation of small arms has contributed immensely to the increase in GBV, and particularly intimate partner violence.

Did you know?

  • Most of the world’s estimated 875 million small arms are in the hands of men?
  • Guns are used in 40% of the murders of women that occur globally.

Myths and facts

  1. Myth: The biggest risk for a woman in South Africa is stranger danger.

Fact: A national study found that more women (57%) were murdered by their husbands and boyfriends than by strangers.

  1. Myth: You cannot tell when a woman is in danger of being killed by her partner or former partner.

Fact: If there are signs of an abusive relationship and especially if there is a gun in the house, a woman is in danger of being killed.

  1. Myth: A legal gun in the home protects women, it is illegal guns that are used in domestic violence.

Fact: Research in South Africa has shown that legal gun ownership significantly increases the risk of intimate femicide-suicide.

If someone you know has a gun and they are misusing it, or are a danger to themselves and others, you can ask the police or courts to remove the gun.

Here are some examples of when a gun owner is being irresponsible:

  • If he threatens you or someone else with a gun
  • If he threatens to hurt or kill himself with the gun
  • If he does not carry or store the gun safely as required by the law
  • If he carries or handles his gun while intoxicated

Any woman who lives in fear of a gun in her home can ask the police or magistrates court to remove the gun immediately.

Disarm gender-based violence: Know the law. Use the law. Save a life


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