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Friday 26 November 2010

South Africa: Shocking Rape Statistics

Survey finds that a woman is raped every 17 seconds.

By Eric Sande

A new survey by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in Gauteng, South Africa’s wealthiest province, found that 37. 4 per cent of men admitted having committed a rape, while 25.3 per cent of women said they had been raped.

The survey questioned 511 women and 487 men, of whom 90 per cent were black and 10 per cent white.

The research reveals that more than one in three South African men questioned in a survey admitted to rape, it also found that more than three in four men said they had perpetrated violence against women. This is a clear confirmation of a form violent culture of patriarchy in the making.

South Africa records the highest rates of rape in the world. One woman is raped every 17 seconds, child rights groups say. Like a third of the 200,000 children who are raped in South Africa every year, are attacked by a close relative. Last year a survey by the MRC found that 28 per cent of men in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces said they had raped a woman or girl.

Glued to the customary believes, about 53.9 per cent of men and 29.8 per cent of women agreed that "a man should have the final say in all family matters", while 37.3 per cnet of men and 23.2 per cent of women supported the view that "a woman needs her husband's permission to do paid work". Nine in 10 men believe that a woman should obey her husband -- and almost six in 10 women also agreed with the statement.

"We see a situation where the use of violence is so widespread that not only is it seen as being legitimate but I think quite often women forget it. They just see it as a normal effect," Said Rachel Jewkes of the MRC.

Jewkes cited her survey's findings on gender attitudes. Although both largely agreed that "people should be treated the same whether they are male or female", 86.7 per cent of men and 57.9 per cent  of women also endorsed the statement that "a woman should obey her husband".

The question about conjugal rights in a marriage left close to 55 per cent of both men and women articulating that they thought "it is possible for a woman to be raped by her husband". Some 38.7 per cent of men and 29.3 per cent of women thought that "a woman cannot refuse to have sex with her husband" and 22.3 per cent of men and 8.8 per cent of women felt that "if a wife does something wrong, her husband has the right to punish her".

This has increased the rate of infection of the HIV pandemic. According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.3 million people living with HIV, including 2.5 million children. During 2009 some 2.6 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 1.8 million people died from AIDS.

The vast majority of people with HIV and AIDS live in lower- and middle-income countries. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.

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