South Africa’s prevalent ‘rape culture’: 25% of all men, 5% in the last year

If the polling is accurate, then what’s been going on in South Africa is a real nightmare. It appears that rape is a widely accepted, if not venerated, practice among men in South Africa. Rape is widespread and initially practiced by teens: 75% of rapists admitted doing it for the first time by age 20. Even 10% of men admitted to being raped.

Quarter of Men in South Africa Admit Rape, Survey Finds

One in four men in South Africa have admitted to rape and many confess to attacking more than one victim, according to a study that exposes the country’s endemic culture of sexual violence.

Three out of four rapists first attacked while still in their teens, the study found. One in 20 men said they had raped a woman or girl in the last year.

South Africa is notorious for having one of the highest levels of rape in the world. Only a fraction are reported, and only a fraction of those lead to a conviction.

The study into rape and HIV, by the country’s Medical Research Council (MRC), asked men to tap their answers into a Palm Pilot device to guarantee anonymity. The method appears to have produced some unusually frank responses.

Professor Rachel Jewkes of the MRC, who carried out the research, said: “We have a very, very high prevalence of rape in South Africa. I think it is down to ideas about masculinity based on gender hierarchy and the sexual entitlement of men. It’s rooted in an African ideal of manhood.”

Jewkes and her colleagues interviewed a representative sample of 1,738 men in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Of those surveyed, 28% said they had raped a woman or girl, and 3% said they had raped a man or boy. Almost half who said they had carried out a rape admitted they had done so more than once, with 73% saying they had carried out their first assault before the age of 20…

One in 10 men said they had been forced to have sex with another man. Many find it difficult to report such attacks to the police in subcultures where the concept of homosexuality is taboo…

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…

Zuma, a polygamist, was criticized for emphasizing his Zulu tribal identity and singing militant songs during this year’s election campaign. He made comments that outraged anti-Aids and gender campaigners…

“We hear men saying, ‘If Jacob Zuma can have many wives, I can have many girlfriends.’ The hyper-masculine rhetoric of the Zuma campaign is going to set back our work in challenging the old model of masculinity.”…

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.

Share