One out of four South African men admit rape
According to a study into rape and HIV by South Africa's Medical Research Council (MRC) a quater of men in South Africa have raped at least one man or woman.
The study includes a representative sample of 1738 men in South Africa's Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces. To ensure anonymity the men were asked to tap their answers into a Palm Pilot device.
The results are more than shocking:
- about one out of four men said they had raped a woman/girl/man/boy before
- 28% said they had raped a woman or girl
- 3% said they had raped a man or boy
- 73% stated that they carried out their first assault before the age of 20
- Nearly 50% said they had raped more than once
- 10% said they had been forced to have sex with another man
The results regarding the interrelationship between HIV and rape are no better:
- Men who are physically violent were shown to be twice as likely to be HIV-positive
- Any woman raped by a man over the age of 25 has a 25% chance of her attacker being HIV-positive
Even though the results of the study are newly published, the problem has been known for a long time. Nonetheless, the government has done little to improve the situation.
South Africa's government has been repeatedly criticised for failing to address the crisis. Only 7% of reported rapes are estimated to lead to a conviction. Jewkes said: "There's been a lot of concern about the way the criminal justice system works, because it's still woeful." Before his election as president, Jacob Zuma stood trial for the rape of a family friend. His supporters demonstrated at the court house, verbally attacked his accuser and sang "burn the bitch, burn the bitch". Zuma was eventually acquitted
Additionally, Zuma is a polygamist and has been using a hyper-masculine rhetoric during his campaign. His behaviour is feared to lead to a strengthening of traditional models of masculinity which values women's rights only little.
A report published by the trade union Solidarity earlier this month said that one child is raped in South Africa every three minutes, with 88% of rapes going unreported. It found that levels of child abuse in South Africa are increasing rapidly.