South African men and rape

This week’s set of findings from a controlled study conducted by the Gender and Health Research Unit of the Medical Research Council are so shocking as to be almost impossible to take from the the page into your brain. Instead of  me droning on about it, let the text speak for itself. Remember it’s a controlled study with a cross-class and cross-racial sample that attempts to be representative of the whole South African population:

Rape of a woman or girl had been perpetrated by 27.6% of the men interviewed and 4.6% of men had raped in the past year. Rape of a current or ex-girlfriend was disclosed by 14.3% of men. Since many men had raped more than once, rape of a woman or girl who was not a partner was actually more often reported than rape of partners. In all only 4.6% of men had raped a partner and not raped a woman who was not a partner (i.e. an acquaintance or stranger). 11.7% of men had raped an acquaintance or stranger (but not a partner) and 9.7% had raped both. In total, 8.9% 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.

And further:

 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 than10 women or girls.

The report is startling. It is short and easy to read. It discusses various associations between socio-economic status and rape and educational levels and rape (prepare to be surprised). Read it, for all its scruffy banality. The executive summary is here

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