A country notorious for having one of the highest levels of rape in the world, a recent South African study on the issue showed that 25 percent of the participants admitted to having raped, some claiming to having been multiple-time offenders.
The study, conducted by the Medical Research Council on the correlation between rape and HIV, allowed participants to key their answers into PDAs, ensuring anonymity and producing grimly frank answers.
Three of of four rapists had commited the act in their teenage years. One in twenty claimed to have raped a woman or girl in the last year.
From the Mail and Guardian article :
-The interviewed were a representative sample of 1,738 men in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
-28% said they had raped a woman or girl, and 3% said they had raped a man or boy.
Almost 50% who said they had carried out a rape admitted they had done so more than once, with 73% saying they had carried out their first assault before the age of 20.
-One in 10 men said they had been forced to have sex with another man. Many find it difficult to report such attacks to the police in subcultures where the concept of homosexuality is taboo.
-The study, which had British funding, also found that men who are physically violent towards women are twice as likely to be HIV-positive. They are also more likely to pay for sex and to not use condoms.
-Any woman raped by a man over the age of 25 has a one in four chance of her attacker being HIV-positive.
In a country where only seven percent of reported rapes lead to a conviction, this is a matter of crisis and the government has been thoroughly criticized for its inaction.
But why is rape so prevalent? The study's lead researcher, Professor Rachel Jewkes, has a theory:
"I think it is down to ideas about masculinity based on gender hierarchy and the sexual entitlement of men. It's rooted in an African ideal of manhood."