24/01/2018 11:17 SAST | Updated 24/01/2018 11:18 SAST

The Changing Faces of Abuse Against Women

Abuse against women mostly shows up in ways that are not as obvious as sexual or physical. Get to know the different forms of abuse and where to get help.

Tertia Van Rensburg


The United Nations defines violence against women as any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

Here, we explore different forms of abuse most women face in their lifetime.


Financial abuse occurs when the abuser prevents their partner from having financial independence. Financial abuse results in its victims feeling insecure and fearful about their ability to support themselves and their children should they ever attempt to leave their abuser.

Family and friends can be a source of help during this time, giving or lending the victim money until they are back on their feet. Organisations such as POWA can provide the victim with advice on legal rights and protection.


Sexual harassment happens when someone in your workplace or school makes unwelcome sexual advances to you or requests sexual favours. The SA police recorded a total of 6,271 sexual assaults this year, up marginally from 6,212 in 2015/16.

If this harassment happens at work the victim can report this to Human Resource and lay a charge to the police. Victims can visit POWA for legal support and for counseling or call them on 083 765 1235.


Women with disabilities are often abused by people they know, such as their partner, family members or even a colleague. They are 40% more likely to be victims of domestic violence than women without a disability.

Victims of abuse can contact the 24-hour toll-free Gender Based Command Center to get counseling and assistance from trained social worker via the center's toll-free number, 0800 428 428.


Technological abuse can happen to people of all ages, but it is more common among young women who use technology and social media and interact in a manner often unmonitored by adults.

This includes: Hacking into a partner's email and personal accounts. Using tracking devices on a partner's cell phone to monitor their location, phone calls and messages.On an international level, the United Nations, in it's 2015 "wake up" report, estimated that 73% of females worldwide have endured online abuse.

Victims can visit FAMSA for counseling that has offices nationwide, or call them on 011 975 7101.


Spiritual abuse revolves around a person's spirituality or religions. This type of abuse includes attacking another's belief system, denying access to a house of worship or forced participation in a cult.

In a survey of more than 2,500 women who called a national domestic-abuse hotline, 74% said they believed their partners deliberately did things to make them feel as if they were losing their minds.

Victims can seek help at FAMSA for counseling at any of their offices nationwide, or call them on 011 975 7101.

Women who face abuse of any kind can lay a charge of assault to the police and call the GBV National Helpline: 0800150150.

Visit https://strideforgood.news24.com/ or follow #strideforgood on social media to be part of a movement aiming to take action against Gender-based Violence.