More than a thousand police officers marched against gender-based violence in South Africa’s capital Pretoria on Monday after a surge in murders and sexual crimes against women.
There has been a rising outcry against sexist violence in the country over the last two months after a series of murders that shocked the public.
In a sea of blue, police officers at the Pretoria rally held up signs reading “It hurts us as police officers to pick up bodies of women, children and vulnerable groups on a daily basis”.
Acting national police commissioner Bonang Mgwenya told the gathered officers that gender-based violence was in “a dire state of emergency”.
“We need an urgent shift that will govern the impact and outcomes of our concerted progressive resolutions,” she said.
The hashtag #AmINext started trending in South Africa as more than 30 women were killed last month, among them a student from Cape Town who was raped and killed in a post office.
Police statistics released on the weekend showed that the number of crimes involving sexual offences jumped 4.6 per cent from April 2018 to March 2019, compared with the same period the previous financial year.
Sexual offences detected as a result of police action — instead of women reporting the crime — rose 19 per cent, the statistics said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has said South Africa is “the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman” has announced an emergency plan to stop the surge in violence against women.