Throughout the world both men
and women suffer from violence. Domestic violence
affects mainly women, perpetrated mainly be men.
In this setting the assailant is usually known to
the victim. Despite this the first act is very seldom
reported to anybody. Health workers may be the first
"outsiders" to notice evidence of domestic violence.
The victim, community groups and even health workers
have reluctance to take action against violence
committed in the home. Worldwide figures of domestic
violence are given as reaching from 20% to as high
as 50% of women having been assaulted by an intimate
male partner. In South Africa the situation is not
A common thread exists in the
majority of cases of domestic violence: where the
social status of the woman is low she is regarded
as the "property" of the man and it then becomes
acceptable to exercise control including physical
force over women. Battering can be physical, sexual,
physiological and economical. Battered women have
an increased risk of depression, suicide and psychiatric
SASOG rejects any form of violence
against women. SASOG also supports discussion of
this matter at all levels of health care, and urges
members and other health workers to be sensitive
towards detecting signs or complaints of domestic
violence, and to support, refer and treat cases
of domestic violence. SASOG urges the community
to have respect for women and to award women their
real position as mothers in the communities.
Prepared by Dr Fred Hayward and Dr Uta Irsigler.
Edited by Prof Gerhard Lindeque. August