Troubling news for many of our sisters in South Africa. In a new study by the South African government, 37% of the men admitted to rape.

The study, conducted by the government-backed Medical Research Foundation, found that in Gauteng province, which houses South Africa’s most populous city, Johannesburg, more than 37 percent of men surveyed admitted to raping a woman. Moreover, almost 7 percent of the 487 men interviewed, said they had participated in a gang rape.

The stats are astounding. Not only did the study find that nearly a third of men had committed at least one rape, more than half of the 511 women interviewed said they had been a victim of violence perpetrated by a man. And an even higher number of men, 78 percent of men, admitted to committing violence against women. In spite of the large numbers of rapes and violence, crimes against women typically go unreported (approximately 1 in 25 rapes is reported).

A similar study conducted in 2008 showed comparable results. 28 percent of men in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Nata admitted to raping women or girls, and according to the study, nearly a third did not feel guilty about it.

Rachel Jewkes, a lead researcher on both studies, thinks that rape has become commonplace in South Africa because of the region’s troubled past. “Rape is completely trivialized by a great number of men. It is seen as a legitimate activity,” she told The Associated Press. “Apartheid has contributed to culture of impunity surrounding rape in South Africa.”

According to The Associated Press, “Two-thirds of the men surveyed in that study said they raped because of a sense of sexual entitlement. Other popular motivating factors included a desire to punish women who rejected or angered them, and raping out of boredom.”

These results, although alarming, are not limited to South Africa. Around the world, women are disproportionally subjected to violence and rape. In the United States, one out of six women will be sexually assaulted (18.8% of all Black women) during her lifetime. While the numbers are astounding, there is something we can do.

Many activists are calling on Congress to pass the International Violence Against Women Act. Introduced earlier this year, the International Violence Against Women Act aims to promote women’s economic growth, address violence against girls in schools, and “would make ending violence against women a diplomatic priority for the first time in U.S. history.”

How can you help? Tell your member of Congress to pass the International Violence Against Women Act.

  • Emelyne

    Co-sign what everyone just said. This is completely sick and barrbaric. I know where I WON’T be vacationing….

  • secretaddy

    These results are atrocious HOWEVER we need to be careful about the language that we use. Black men and African men are stereotyped as “uncivilized” “barbaric” and “primitive” and unfortunately I have seen this language used.

    The systematic rape of South African women is a function of patriarchy and also economic, political and social unrest. Let’s keep in mind that structural changes must be implemented to protect women from rape, it is not that South African men are more “evil” it rather the aforementioned reasons.

    • Emelyne

      Excuse me?!? “we need to be careful about the language that we use.” Are you kidding me?!? Absolutely NO ONE on this page labeled all black or all African men; we are simply stating incredibly valid opinions based on FACTS about the men in this study. Look up “uncivilized”, “barbaric”, and “primitive” in the dictionary. All of those terms apply to these men. Just when I thought everyone could agree on a plainly wrong issue, SOMEONE has to come out of the woodwork and defend the predator(s) by turning this into a race issue, which it is not. This is men, over 33% (who admit it, anyway) raping women and the attacks going unreported, the rapists unchecked and it’s a f%cking disgrace no matter where in the world it happens. I will not defend or make excuses for any rapist. I don’t care where you live, how hard life was, or how badly “the man” treated you. South Africa is not unique in economical, political, or social issues; they are not the stand alone country in an awesome world. Although poorer countries do see more crime, there’s no excuse for any country to have over 33% of the population be admitted rapists. Sick. No wonder AIDS is spreading like wiildfire there. SMH

    • secretaddy

      I am NOT defending the predators? You are obviously misunderstood

      Did I rationalize their behavior, Did I justify it?

      All I am noting is that we not reinforce racist ideas about black masculinity and keep in mind that this issue is stems from social ills and a funtion of patriarchy

      Being accused of rationalizing rape , is one of the worst things you could do to a feminist!

      And South Africa is not unique to those conditions but countries with the same socio-political climate as South AFrica see similar results !

      And yes you are right about the AIDS comment

    • Emelyne

      The fact that you are making this into a race issue just sets off alarms for me. I know how black men are portrayed in this country and that is a race issue but comparing their plight to men in another country who are rapists just because they are of the same race and trying to make their issues comparable is ridiculous. They make both be black, but 33% of blacks in this country are NOT rapists and men here will never know what is it to live in South Africa. The fact that they are black means nothing. I and everyone else should not be careful of our language when it fully applies just because black men get a bad rap and these men happen to be black; they do not represent all black men and the fact that they are black is not what made them rapists. Any all all language can be used to define someone who has reduced themselves to that level and while South Africa isn’t unique, the article was about rapists in South Africa, not globally.

  • Emelyne

    Thank you! You made my point a lot better than I did!

  • secretaddy

    Ok this is really annoying

    My only point and the point that I am trying to make is that rape at that systematic level is not a behavioral nor is it an individual issue. It is one that flourishes under certain unequal structures of society.

    We can call men that have really high illiteracy levels who are INFORMED by their gov’t and by trusted officials that engaging in sexual activity with a baby will cure you of AIDS primitive, barbaric (whatever African stereotype you are reinforcing) OR we can look at the larger scheme of things and understand how

    1. poverty
    2. apartheid
    3. illiteracy/lack of educational access
    4. lack of jobs/economic sustainability
    5. patriarchy/misogyny

    AFFECT the manner in which men begin to view women and the manner in which they feel entitled to women’s bodies. We can look at how cultural norms are shaped and attempt to come up with multi-dimensional explanations for this endemic OR

    we can come to simplistic conclusions such as these men are primitive, barbaric etc.

    I choose the previous ! I believe that people are people and that our environment shapes how we behave, what we think and how we percieve things

    Also kiss your own d**n @ss !

  • Emelyne

    Excelleny poiny, but you should also point out that even if government officials were right in that sex with a baby cures AIDS, it would still be a crime to do so. These dudes were misinformed, but that was just the misinformation that the rapists who raped for the reason of AIDS (or mere pedophilia) needed to justify that behaviour.

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