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19 June 2009

1 in 4 SA men 'rapists'

One in every four South African men have raped a woman, according to a shock report issued by the Medical Research Council.

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One in every four South African men have raped a woman, according to a shock report issued by the Medical Research Council.

What's more, 4,6% of the men interviewed had raped in the past year. Almost 8% of the men said they had raped more than 10 women or girls.

The study was conducted in three different regions in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal, and included men of all racial groups, ages and socio-economic backgrounds. Interviews were completed in 1,738 households. Electronic devices enabled researchers to gather the data anonymously.

Shocking rape statistics

  • More than 1 in 4 men interviewed (27.6%) had raped a woman or a girl in the past year.
  • Almost 10 % of all men interviewed said they had raped with one or more other perpetrators when a woman didn’t consent to sex, was forced or when she was too drunk to stop them.
  • Rape of men and boys was also reported, and 2.9% said they had done this.
  • Attempted rape was reported by 16.8% of men and 5.3% of men said they had done so in the previous 12 months.

Patterns of rape
Nearly one in two of the men who raped (46.3%) said they had raped more than one woman or girl.

In all, 23.2% of men said they had raped 2-3 women, 8.4% had raped 4-5 women, 7.1% said they had raped 6-10 and 7.7% said they had raped more than 10 women or girls.

When asked about their age at the first time they had forced a woman or girl into sex, 9.8% said they were under 10 years old, 16.4% were 10-14 years old, 46.5% were 15-19 years old, 18.6% were 20-24 years old, 6.9% were 25-29 years and 1.9% were 30 or older.

Factors associated with raping

Age
Men aged 20-40 were more likely to have raped than younger or older men.

Education
Men who had raped were significantly better educated, although they were not more likely to have a tertiary qualification.

Racial differences
There were significant racial differences in rape reporting, mostly notably men who were Coloured were over represented among those who had raped.

Income
Men who had raped were significantly more likely to have earnings of over R500 per month, although they were not more likely to be in the top income bracket, over R10 000. Men who raped were more likely to have occasional work, and less likely to have never worked at all.

Family ties
Parental absence was significantly associated with raping, as was the quality of affective relationships with parents was related to raping. Men who raped perceived both their fathers and mothers to be significantly less kind. Rape was associated with significantly greater degrees of exposure to trauma in childhood.

Bullying
Teasing and harassment were reported by many of the men in their childhood. Over half of the men had experienced this themselves (54%) and somewhat fewer (40%) had teased and harassed others. Both experience of bullying and being bullied was much more common among men who raped.

Criminal behaviour
Delinquent and criminal behaviour were more common among men who raped. Men who raped were much more likely to have been involved in theft and, with the exception of legal gun ownership, they were very much more likely to have been involved with weapons, gangs and to have been arrested and imprisoned.

Risky behaviour
Men who raped were significantly more likely to have engaged with a range of other risky sexual behaviours. They were more likely to have ever had more than 20 sexual partners, transactional sex, sex with a prostitute, heavy alcohol consumption, to have been physically violent towards a partner, raped a man and not to have used a condom consistently in the past year.

(Reference: Understanding men's health and use of violence: interface of rape and HIV in South Africa by Rachel Jewkes, Yandisa Sikweyiya, Robert Morrell, Kristin Dunkle, June 2009)

For full summary of the report, click here.

 
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