SaferSpaces: Vulnerability to Violence

Understanding Risks for Violence Victimization and Perpetration

Vulnerability to Violence

While violence is a significant challenge throughout South Africa, not all people are at the same risk of experiencing violence.  

Vulnerability to violence differs across a range of demographic factors, like age, gender, race, sexual orientation, income and even nationality or ethnicity. A person’s demographic identifiers can affect how vulnerable they are to violence generally, but also the specific kinds of violence to which they are vulnerable.

There can also be an overlap, or intersection, between identities that compound a person’s vulnerability to violence. For example, statistics show that in South Africa, young, black, men are the people who are most likely to be murdered.

Two important dimensions of violence are:

  • The Age Dimension
  • The Gender Dimension

Think about the last violent incident you heard about on the news, in the media or via word of mouth.

Reflection questions

1 What were the demographics of the victim?

2 Do you think these characteristics might have made that person vulnerable to violence?

3 Why do you think this was the case?