South Africa is said to be the worlds rape capital according to a report published in 2012 by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) think-tank. That report only looked at female victims of rape. Searching Google News one quickly sees that sexual violence and rape in South Africa is prevalent and has been for quite some time. One also note that women and girls are the most common victims mentioned – although rape against young male children are also mentioned. Perpetrators are always male. So the impression one is left with is: Women and girls (but also some boys) are raped by male perpetrators in disturbingly high numbers.
I have previously written a post which mentions a paper (13,915 reasons for equity in sexual offences legislation: A national school-based survey in South Africa) looking solely at male youth victimization using data from a 2002 South African survey among pupils with a extremely large sample size of 269,705 total where 126,696 were male respondents. The age of respondents ranged from 10-20 year old. The survey used the term “forced sex without consent” in a gender neutral way (apparently the word rape doesn’t exist in some of the languages this survey was administered in).
To sum up the important findings:
Some 9% (weighted value based on 13915/127097) of male respondents aged 11–19 years reported forced sex in the last year.
Of those aged 18 years at the time of the survey,
44% (weighted value of 5385/11450) said they had been forced to have sex in their lives and 50% reported consensual sex.
Some 32% said the perpetrator was male,
41% said she was female and
27% said they had been forced to have sex by both male and female perpetrators.
In the references of that paper I found the paper which looks at the results from the complete survey, that is for both male and female respondents:
Some of the findings:
Around 11% of males and 4% of females claimed to have forced someone else to have sex; 66% of these males and 71% of these females had themselves been forced to have sex.
8.6% (weighted value based on 27 118/269 705) of respondents said they had been forced to have sex in the past year. Younger males were more likely to report this than younger females. In the older age group, more females than males reported having been forced to have sex in the past year.
That is not an insignificant number of female perpetrators; almost 30% of respondents who admitted to have forced someone else to have sex in the past year were female.
Looking for more recent data than 2002 I found The 2nd South African National Youth Risk Behaviour Survey 2008 – a national survey by the South African Medical Research Council. The sample size is smaller, but still pretty large at 10,270 respondents. The respondents were pupils in grades 8, 9 ,10 and 11 making the majority of the sample (83.8%) between the ages of 14 and 18 years inclusive, with 4.3% of learners aged below this range and 11.9% above (page 26).
At this time the rape laws in South Africa are more gender neutral (was changed in 2007) and this report defines “sex” as penis in vagina or penis in anus. Hence the report excludes oral sex in all forms.
Some key findings related to victimization and perpetration of “forced to sex”:
- 11.9% of boys reported having been forced to sex
- 8.2% of girls report having been forced to sex
(graph 20 page 162)
- 11.5% of boys report having forced someone else to have sex
- 6.6% of girls report having forced someone else to have sex
(graph 21 page 163)
It also looked at partner violence:
- 16.5% of boys reported having been assaulted by boyfriend/girlfriend in the last 6 months
- 13.8% of girls reported having been assaulted by boyfriend/girlfriend in the last 6 months
(Graph 18 page 162)
- 15,3% of boys reported having assaulted their boyfriend/girlfriend in the last 6 months
- 11.7% of girls reported having assaulted their boyfriend/girlfriend in the last 6 months
(Graph 19 page 162)
I have seen that there has been some occasional visitors from South Africa to this blog. I’d be very much interested in comments or feedback on to what extent male victmization and female perpetration is considered/taken seriously in the context of the discourse on rape and sexual violence in South Africa.