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Khayelitsha women, children live in fear after pastor arrested for assault

Dozens of people took to the streets of Khayelitsha on Monday to mark the start of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.

Picture: Pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN - A Khayelitsha activist said it was an emotional and frustrating time for many women and children in the community as they continued to suffer at the hands of men.

Dozens of people took to the streets of Khayelitsha on Monday to mark the start of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.

The latest police stats show crimes against women and children increased in six provinces in the year ending March 2019.

Monday’s gender-based violence march coincided with the court appearance of a Khayelitsha pastor accused of sexually assaulting three young girls in his church.

The Harare community policing forum's Funeka Soldaat said the alleged incident left the community reeling.

She said women were living in fear and shared concerns for their children because following the pastor's arrest, they didn’t know who they could trust.

“People, especially women, are very anxious. You don’t trust anyone around. It’s a very emotional and frustrating time for everybody.”

The 2018/2019 crime stats showed more than 2,700 women and more than 1,000 children were murdered in South Africa during that period.

This year's 16 days of activism comes about three months after the murders of UCT student Uniyinene Mrwetyana and UWC student Jesse Hess gave rise to the #AmINext social media campaign, that saw thousands of people participate in demonstrations across the country.