Carolyn S Stauffer


Contemporary South Africa is poised at the intersection of a polarizing and contentious paradox.  On the one hand, South Africa boasts one of the world’s most inclusive and representative constitutions concerning women’s rights and protections.  On the other hand, the nation currently weighs in with some of the globe’s highest levels of sexual and gender-based violence.  This article investigates the origins of this paradox, exploring the nexus between South Africa’s history of structural violence during Apartheid and current mores of behavior in intimate domains.  The article probes the ways gender identities have been scripted and problematizes the complicity of state, legal and religious institutions with silence around gender-based violence.  It concludes with reflections on individual and collective agency and highlights the vital role that faith communities have in social transformation.   
KEYWORDS: gender-based violence, South Africa, structural violence, intersectionality 


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