South Africa has some of the highest incidences of child and infant rape in the world. In 2001, it was reported by the South African Police Service that children are the victims of 41 percent of all rapes reported in the country. Although there are varying numbers on the number of reported rapes of children, one report states that in 2000, 21,538 rapes and attempted rapes of children under the age of 18 were reported and another from 2001 states that there were 24,892 rapes.
A trade union report said a child was being raped in South Africa every three minutes. Some cite a 400% increase in sexual violence against children in the decade preceding 2002. A third of the cases are committed by a family member or close relative. Child welfare groups believe that the number of unreported incidents could be up to 10 times that number. The largest increase in attacks was against children under seven.
A number of high-profile infant rapes appeared since 2001 (including the fact that they required extensive reconstructive surgery to rebuild urinary, genital, abdominal, or tracheal systems). In October 2001, a 9-month-old girl named Tshepang was raped by an HIV-positive man and had to undergo extensive reconstructive surgery in Cape Town. In February 2002, an 8-month-old infant was reportedly gang raped by four men. One has been charged. The infant has required extensive reconstructive surgery. The 8-month-old infant’s injuries were so extensive, increased attention on prosecution has occurred.
A significant contributing factor for the escalation in child abuse is the widespread myth in HIV ravaged South Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure a man of AIDS. This virgin cleansing myth exists in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. The child abusers are often relatives of their victims and are at times their fathers or providers.
Sexual violence against minors older than the age of infancy is also extremely prevalent in South Africa. According to the Medical Research Council, more than one in four minors experience physical violence at home daily or weekly and more than one third of girls have experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. Its study also states that by 2009, 40% of all victims who reported rape to the police were under 18 and 15% were under 12 years old.
South Africa has extremely high levels of sexual assault. “The prevalence of rape, and particularly multiple perpetrator rape… is unusually high,” according to a 2012 report by the think-tank the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).
Lizette Lancaster, manager of the ISS Crime and Justice Information Hub, says there are many complex reasons South Africa has such a high sexual offence rates.
South Africa is a very paternalistic society where women are not seen as equals, contributing to abuse. “Rape, as you know, is not a sexual act but a violent act,” Lancaster said.
“Rape is one of the most under-reported crimes in South Africa,” noted the NGO coalition Shukumisa. It points to research, conducted in Gauteng in 2010, that found one-quarter of women questioned in the study “had been raped in the course of their lifetimes, while almost one in 12 women had been raped in 2009. But only one…
View original post 56 more words