South African Rape/HIV Epidemic

"Figure four shows that overall 25.2% of women hadever had the experience of being raped by a man,whether a husband or boyfriend, family member,stranger or acquaintance while an even higher 37.4% of men admitted to ever raping a woman. More women(7.8%) said they had experienced sexual violence than men (4.7%) said they had perpetrated sexual violence against any woman over the last year. The lifetime experience results correspond to a number of studies from different parts of the country that have reported a prevalence range between 12% and 28%over the past 20years."

the_war at home

The final report will be out sometime in 2011 - However a much larger similar study was made in other parts of South Africa in 2008, which also contain much terrifying data regarding the state of demoralisation and creeping anarchy in large parts of South Africa.

In this study it was also investigated to which extent the rape epidemic was related to urban myths about curing oneself from HIV by raping a virgin or simply spread the disease deliberately in order to make other people miserable. (table below.

Our study findings show that there is no association between rape and ideas that having sex with a virgin can cure a man of HIV. This fnding is not surprising and is supported by the observations of service providers and other research (Jewkes et al 2005). We did show that a greater proportion of men with HIV hypothetically endorsed a view that if they had HIV they would deliberately spread it. It is clearly an anti-social idea. It appears that it is not a product of learning that one has HIV as in fact the very small sub-group that probably knew they did have HIV who endorsed this was not larger than the group that didn’t know that they were infected. Th fact that the idea of deliberately infecting others and the virgin cure myth were endorsed by one in ten men is worrying as it provides another perspective on the frequency with which anti-social attitudes are held by men in communities

It would have been interesting to know to which extent these two separate views were held by the same men. It would then be more easy to asses the total scale of anti-social ideas among south african men.

Rape survey southe africa 2008

Rachel Jewks who is among the admirable researchers conducting the above studies was interviewed by BBC in 2009.

BBC:Does this survey support then the notion that "rape happens more often in africa"?

Rachel Jewks: No, I don´t think so. One of the interesting things is that we are one of the very few countries in the world, that actually have community based data. Where we have actually been out asking men whether they have done it...

Frank Kitman