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Statistics PrevalenceAccording to the report by the United Nations Office on Crimes and Drugs for the period 1998–2000, South Africa was ranked first for rapes per capita. In 1998, one in three of the 4,000women questioned in Johannesburg was raped, according to Community Information,Empowerment and Transparency (CIET) Africa. While womens groups in South Africaestimate that a woman is raped every 26 seconds, the South African police estimates that awoman is raped every 36 seconds.More than 25% of a sample of 1,738 South African men from the KwaZulu-Natal and EasternCape Provinces admitted to raping someone when anonymously questioned; of these, nearly halfsaid they had raped more than one person, according to a non-peer reviewed policy brief issuedby the Medical Research Council (MRC). Several news publications wrongly extrapolatedthese results to the rest of the South African population, given reported rape prevalence severaltimes higher in the two provinces in question than i.e. in Mpumalanga or Northern Province.Nearly three out of four men who admitted rape stated they had first forced a woman or girl intosex before the age of 20, and nearly one in ten admitted doing so before the age of 10. Asurvey from the comprehensive study "Rape in South Africa" from 2000 indicated that 2,1% ofwomen aged 16 years or more across population groups reported that they had been sexuallyabused at least once between the beginning of 1993 and March 1998, results which seem to starkconflict the MRC survey results. Similarly "The South African demographic and health survey of1998" gave results of rape prevalence at 4,0% all women aged between 15 and 49 years in thesampled households (a survey also performed by the Medical Research Council and Departmentof Health). So far no attempts have been made to address these large statistical disparities.A number of institutions report that the extent of sexual violence in South Africa is a result of theApartheid. They argue that the state-sponsored violence and subsequent community reactioncreated an atmosphere where physical violence is seen as the first answer to resolving conflictand achieving self-gain. Whether or not this is true is hard to prove; however, it is an idea thathas been proliferated through institutional studies and beliefs held by the public. Report and conviction ratesIt is estimated that over 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and thatonly 1 in 9 rapes are reported. It is also estimated that 14% of perpetrators of rape areconvicted in South Africa. In 1997, violence against women was added as one of the prioritycrimes under the National Crime Prevention Strategy; nevertheless, the rates of reported rape,sexual abuse of children and domestic violence continue to rise.The South African report to CEDAW partly attributes the low report and conviction rate to thepost-apartheid public perception of the police force. Moreover, the report states that the attitudesand prejudices of law enforcement agencies and other government personnel and theinaccessibility of services, particularly in rural areas, are also part of the problem. Much of the
South African public regard the police as symbols of the oppressors during the apartheid; thus,poor faith in the police is still instituted in the post-apartheid country.Other institutional barriers contribute to lack of report and conviction rates. The "cautionaryrule" is a law that requires that a judge must show awareness to special dangers on relying onuncorroborated evidence of a complainant, lowering this rate and making victims of sexualviolence feel as if the court will deem them untrustworthy. According to a survey thatquestioned rape victims who did not report the crime to the police, 33.3% of victims cited theyfeared reprisals, 9.6% cited that they felt the police would not be able to solve the crime, and9.2% cited embarrassment as their reasons for not reporting the crime. Regional differencesProvinces of South AfricaThere are deviations in sexual violence rates in different provinces of South Africa.In a study of three South African provinces (Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, and NorthernProvince/Limpopo) in 1997, 6.8% of women surveyed in Mpumalanga said they had been rapedduring their lifetime, 5.0% of women surveyed in Northern Province had been raped, and 4.5%of women in Eastern Cape had been raped. In 1998, the region of Gauteng accounted for thelargest percentage of prisoners in custody for sexual offences with 20.6% and Western Cape hadthe second largest percentage with 17.3%. The province with the least percentage of prisonersconvicted of sexual offences was Northern Cape with 3.8% and Northern Province with 2.6%.The South African Crime Survey 2003 highlights the regional differences of citizensperceptions and fears. Surveying what type of crime respondents thought occurred most in theirarea of residence, 14.6% of Northern Cape respondents reported that they believed rape to be themost prevalent type of crime. While the Northern Cape had the largest percentage of respondents
who believed rape to be most prevalent, the province of KwaZulu-Natal had the least with 1.7%.Averaging all provinces, rape ranked 7th in the crime that respondents thought was mostprevalent, after housebreaking, property theft, robbery, murder, livestock theft, and assault. Thissurvey also investigated what type of crime respondents feared most in their area. Rape rankedthird in this category after only murder and housebreaking. 40.8% of respondents in the NorthernCape and 31.8% of respondents in Free State feared rape the most. On the other side of thespectrum, 11.6% of KawZulu-Natal and 12.1% of respondents in Mpumalanga stated rape as thecrime they were most afraid of in their area. TypesThere are several different forms of sexual violence, including, but not limited to: rape or sexualassault, child sexual assault and incest, intimate partner sexual assault, unwanted sexualcontact/touching, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, revealing one’s genitals to anotherwithout consent, public masturbation, and voyeurism. There are several types of sexualviolence cases in South Africa that have specifically garnered a significant amount ofinternational attention: Rape of womenSouth Africa has the highest reported incident of rape in the world. While men are alsosubjected to sexual violence and 3.5% of men have been forced to have sex with other men, themajority of sexual violence is against women. The South African government reports that oneof these reasons is the culture of patriarchy in South Africa. Its report states that patriarchy isfirmly rooted in the country and fighting it is seen as attempting to destroy African tradition orAfrican ideals. The danger from rape and sexual assault is compounded because of theprevalence of HIV/AIDS in South African townships. A woman being raped over the age of 25has a one in four chance that her attacker is HIV positive and more women than men are affectedfrom HIV/AIDS. The perpetrators of rape in South Africa tend to be men known to thevictim. It is reported that a husband or boyfriend kills a woman every six hours in SouthAfrica. Many men and women say that rape cannot occur in relationships; however, one infour women reported having been abused by an intimate partner. Baby rape and sexual violence against minorsSee also: Virgin cleansing mythSouth Africa has some of the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world. In 2001,it was reported by the South African Police Service that children are the victims of 41 percent ofall rapes reported in the country. Although there are varying numbers on the amount ofreported rapes of children, one report states that in 2000, 21,538 rapes and attempted rapes ofchildren under the age of 18 were reported and another from 2001 states that there were 24,892rapes. A trade union report said a child was being raped in South Africa every threeminutes. Some cite a 400% increase in sexual violence against children in the decadepreceding 2002. A third of the cases are committed by a family member or close relative.
Child welfare groups believe that the number of unreported incidents could be up to 10 times thatnumber. The largest increase in attacks was against children under seven.A number of high-profile baby rapes appeared since 2001 (including the fact that they requiredextensive reconstructive surgery to rebuild urinary, genital, abdominal, or tracheal systems). InOctober 2001, a 9-month-old named Tshepang was raped by an HIV-positive man and had toundergo surgery in Cape Town. In 2001, another 9-month-old infant was reportedly gangraped by six men, aged between 24 and 66. The infant required extensive reconstructive surgeryin Kimberley, Northern Cape. In February 2002, an 8-month-old infant was reportedly gangraped by four men. One has been charged. The infant has required extensive reconstructivesurgery. The 8-month-old infants injuries were so extensive, increased attention on prosecutionhas occurred.A significant contributing factor for the escalation in child abuse is the widespread myth in HIVravaged South Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure a man of AIDS. This virgincleansing myth exists in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. The child abusers are often relativesof their victims and are at times their fathers or providers.Sexual violence against minors older than the age of infancy is also extremely prevalent in SouthAfrica. According to the Medical Research Council, more than one in four minors experiencephysical violence at home daily or weekly and more than one third of girls have experiencedsexual violence before the age of 18. Its study also states that by 2009, 40% of all victims whoreported rape to the police were under 18 and 15% were under 12 years old.Another issue with sexual violence against minors in South Africa is the sexual abuse andharassment that is reported to occur in schools by teachers and other students. According to theHuman Rights Watch, girls from all levels of society and ethnic groups have been subjected tosexual violence at school in bathrooms, empty classrooms, dormitories, and more. Police,prosecutors, and social workers have also complained that many incidents of sexual violence inschools are not reported to them because schools often prefer to deal with it internally, thushindering justice against the perpetrators. The danger of sexual violence in schools has created abarrier for girls to seek education. HRW also reported that South African girls’ schoolperformance suffers after an incident of sexual violence. Corrective rapeMain article: Corrective rapeLesbians in certain parts of South Africa also face a dangerous environment. Raping lesbians (apractice referred to as corrective rape) is believed to convert them to heterosexuality. TheSouth African government reported to CEDAW that lesbians and gays are discriminated againstin many spheres. The government has been accused of condoning the practice for fear of notappearing "macho." One notable case of this was the gang-rape and murder of Eudy Simelane,a member of the South African football team and LGBT-rights activist. 31 lesbians have diedfrom these attacks in the last 10 years and more than 10 lesbians per week are raped or gang-raped in Cape Town alone.
 LawThe government of the Republic of South Africa is cognizant of this problem. The Bill of Rightsin the Constitution of South Africa sets to ensure rights of all of the people in South Africa withthe democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom. Furthermore, it calls for theright to freedom and security, including freedom from all forms of violence by either public orprivate sources and the right to bodily and psychological integrity, including reproduction andbodily security. South Africa is also a member of the UN Convention for the Elimination ofall Discrimination Against Women, where it reported on some issues of sexual violence. Itreported about how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission offered a platform for the voicesof victims of violence and sexual violence during the Apartheid. It also reported details on theJudicial Authority of South Africa, where the lower courts are responsible for important issuessuch as sexual assault and family violence.The Parliament of South Africa has enacted the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and RelatedMatters) Amendment Act, 2007, which has been in effect since 16 December 2007. Thecomprehensive act looks to review and amend all laws dealing with sexual offences andstrengthening them. The preamble of the amendment calls to scrutinize the problem in SouthAfrica, noting that the problem "is reflective of deep-seated, systemic dysfunctionality in oursociety". The amendment defines sexual violence as including, but not limited to, the followingforms: rape and compelled rape sexual assault compelled assault and compelled self-sexual assault forced witness of sexual body parts child pornography incest bestiality acts of necrophiliaIt also adds measures in the matters of sexual offences against children (including consensualsexual acts), sexual exploitation, exposure to pornography, forced witness of sexual acts, andsexual offences against mentally disabled. Furthermore, the amendment provides services forvictims of sexual offences and compulsory HIV testing of alleged sex offenders and creates anational registry for sex offenders. The Department of Justice also conducted a major nationalCampaign on Prevention of Violence Against Women, launched on 25 November 1996, as aneducation campaign. Societal attitudesThe Medical Research Council states, "Many forms of sexual violence, particularly sexualharassment and forms of sexual coercion that do not involve physical force are widely viewed asnormal male behaviour." It also said practices such as gang rape were common because theywere considered a form of male bonding.
Among children, a survey by CIET found 60% of both boys and girls, aged 10 to 19 years old,thought it was not violent to force sex upon someone they knew, while around 11% of boys and4% of girls admitted to forcing someone else to have sex with them. The study also found that12.7% of the students believed in the virgin cleansing myth.In a related survey conducted among 1,500 school children in the Johannesburg township ofSoweto, a quarter of all the boys interviewed said that jackrolling, a term for gang rape, wasfun. Furthermore, more than half the interviewees insisted that when a girl says no to sex shereally means yes. It is also noteworthy that those in this study were school children as age issignificantly associated with rape. Men from ages 20–40 are more likely to have raped thanyounger or older men.Market Research Africa, a Johannesburg-based market research agency, reported in 1994 that76% of men felt that women had a right to say no to sex, one third thought that women could notdecide for themselves on abortion, and 10% condoned a man beating a woman or his wife. Media portrayalThis problem is portrayed in the media to the public through different avenues. Media reportsdocumenting high levels of sexual violence in South Africa have increased in the media since the1990s.While some believe that the international community has expressed outrage over these incidents,former Republic of South Africa military intelligence officer Koos Ven der Merwe has said thatthe incident of child-rape "has been largely ignored by the mainstream media in the United Statesand the Western world, in order to perpetuate the Mandela myth of the wonderful New SouthAfrica". Others have condemned South African sexual violence in the media as fitting into aspecific narrative of only broadcasting incidents where the victims are white, middle-class andeducated and are not attacked by their peers or family members. News and eventsHowever, there are many news stories and events dealing with sexual violence in South Africathat have garnered a lot of international attention.The current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, was accused of raping the HIV-positive 31-year-old daughter of a family friend in November 2005 before he was president. He was foundinnocent by the court in 2006, yet he did admit to consensual unprotected sex with the woman.This event was widely covered by the press.One particularly well-known publication of rape in South Africa was Charlene Leonora Smith’sreport of her own rape. As a journalist of the Mail and Guardian and having contributed toarticles for the Washington Post and BBC, Smith has claimed that ‘rape is endemic’ in theculture of South Africa.
Another scandal of sexual violence in South Africa involved the media tycoon Oprah Winfreys,school, Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Thedormitory matron, Tiny Virginia Makopo, was charged with 13 separate counts of abuse againststudents at the school.A particularly controversial issue was an episode of Big Brother in South Africa where RichardBezuidenhout, a 24-year-old film student, allegedly assaulted his housemate, OfunnekaMolokwu, a 29-year-old medical assistant. While many watchers disagree on what wasactually shown, some saw Bezuidenhout manually penetrating Molokwu while she wasunconscious or intoxicated while another housemate pleaded him to stop. After the contestedun-consensual act ceased, the producers intervened, sending paramedics into the house andcutting the live feed. News publications and blogs have widely discussed this controversy.Another contentious issue was when the only black player in the South African cricket team,Makhaya Ntini, was convicted of the rape of a 22-year old student. This was particularlycontroversial as Ntini was the first black (as opposed to mixed race or white) cricketer torepresent South Africa on an international level and was viewed as a role model. However,Ntini won his appeal against his rape conviction and had his six-year jail sentence overturned.In contrast to these scandals of sexual violence, action against sexual violence in South Africahas also been featured in the news and media. A protest against sexual violence that wasportrayed in the media occurred in 2012, when the African National Congress Womens Leaguecalled on hundreds of South Africans to engage in a "mini-skirt march" to protest the attack oftwo women in Johannesburg for wearing short skirts. In response to corrective rape, the NewYork Festivals Television and Film Awards Gala at the NAB Show in Las Vegas will awardESPN for their E:60 production, "Corrective Rape," with the Gold Award. This award wasestablished in 1990 to films that reflected the ideals of the United Nations and signifies that theissue of corrective rape is becoming more discussed on an international level. Literature and fictionSome novels and movies have also delved into this issue in its connection to the Apartheid.Antjie Krog’s Country of My Skull delves into the Truth and Reconciliatory Commission and thereports of women that were victims of sexual violence during the Apartheid. J.M. Coetzee’snovel, Disgrace, has been accused of racism as it depicts a young white woman being raped bythree black men in her house in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The book, The WritingCircle, by Rozena Maart, depicts a group of young womens experiences with rape and otherforms of violence living in Cape Town, South Africa. The 2006 documentary, Rape for Who IAm, delves into the lives of black lesbians living in South Africa.