One in four South African men … said they had raped someone … three out of four who admitted rape attacked for the first time while in their teens.

… practices such as gang rape were common because they were considered a form of male bonding.

The research was conducted in both rural and urban areas and included all racial groups.

… the study found that 73% of respondents said they had carried out their first assault before the age of 20.

Almost half who said they had carried out a rape admitted they had done so more than once.

One in 20 men surveyed said they had raped a woman or girl in the last year.

bbc

Hat Tip, Analiese.

Comments

  1. #1 Jason Thibeault
    June 18, 2009

    “I don’t think it’s cultural per se; I think it has to do with how a lot of us men worldwide were raised. The issues of dominance against women, issues of inequality, are pervasive and you find them throughout the world.”

    Isn’t that social… and… uh… isn’t social, at least partly cultural?

    Also, to preempt a few common trolls, the article includes statistics on how many men reported being raped — one in ten.

  2. #2 Stephanie Z
    June 18, 2009

    Jason, I think the speaker was trying to say it wasn’t specific to South African culture, that many of the same social attitudes can be found worldwide.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    June 18, 2009

    I think “cultural” is being used here in part as a codeword for “racial” or “ethnic”

  4. #4 Jason Thibeault
    June 18, 2009

    Gotcha. In which case, I agree, there’s nothing endemic to their culture that causes this to be any more possible than anywhere else.

    That said, it’s obviously something that needs to be corrected, and the best corrective pressures are likely going to be social.

  5. #5 the real meme
    June 18, 2009

    “The research was conducted in both rural and urban areas and included all racial groups.”

    Don’t we just love it when western definitions are imposed upon peole in the third world? And don’t we just escpecially love it when those third world people who are imposed upon thusly are 1) black 2) under/uneducated 3) all soo willing to be divided and conquered (again) by western paradigms of power via “definitional bias”.

    What would those poor people do without good hearted, well intentioned western imposition??

  6. #6 jean
    June 18, 2009

    Just a couple of comment… from someone who until 3 months ago lived in SA.

    “In which case, I agree, there’s nothing endemic to their culture that causes this to be any more possible than anywhere else.”

    Actually in a male dominated culture where men still pay ‘lobola’ for a wife, women are often treated as possessions rather than partners, leading to a whole slew of ‘cultural’ issues.

    “third world people who are imposed upon thusly are 1) black 2) under/uneducated 3) all soo willing to be divided ”

    There is no imposition, the South African government itself is very capable and active in the highly granular labelling of its citizens, every gov. data collection form in the rainbow nation has race / ethnicity / gender blocks to be completed. Every job application is divided up on the basis of race and gender…

    Jean

  7. #7 the real meme
    June 18, 2009

    Thanks for that information, Jean.
    I was actually addressing the issue of western definitions of “rape” which to my mind at least, is every bit as problematic as the original colonizers and their religious imposition of ‘social order’ via the male/female gender role constructs.

    Whereas three hundred years ago we had a European centered religious view of women as “pure” and “chaste”, and the utter domination of males who are ‘dangerous’ through death and colonialist oppression, today we have a western centered “women are chaste and men are all rapists”. In other words, the guys lose in every century, no matter what, and the paradigm hasn’t changed a bit.

    I wonder: do you have any data on child rearing practices in South Africa? I am especially interested in maternal practices that may relate to a ‘cultural’ dynamic that encourages this said ‘rape’and have often wondered if the way some boys are raised causes a ‘backlash’.

    I am also aware that several tribal practices around the world actively encourage the domination/bullying/submission of young boys to a tribal ethos and also that some tribes have shaming rituals of young men that might encourage later rape behavior directed at females–not that these behaviors are confined to exclusively male to female rape, because they are not.

    For example, in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, etc, it is common for women and girls to pull on the penises of young boys, or in the famous case of Elian Gonzalez, his grandmother said she would ‘bite it off’. Of course, these behaviors are defined as raope in my culture, but no one wants to talk about them unless they are males directing behavior at females.

    What are the South African practices in this regard?

  8. #8 jean
    June 19, 2009

    Ok, this is a ridiculously hard question to answer in that the very fabric of the average black South African family has been shred over the past 40 years.

    First by colonial rule, then apartheid and the migration of only male workers to the mines etc. Pass laws that forced families to not live together (only 1 partner would be able to work, other had to stay on farm etc).

    The 2 generations that were lost in the struggle (lost in the sense of no education, employment at less that 40% and the additional social ills of alcohol and drugs)

    Now HIV has decimated the population to the point where the average age of the person who is ‘head’ of the family in some areas of KZN is around the 14 to 16 year old.

    All of these factors have lead to a disintegration of the family, a serious loss in the moral compass of many South Africans. So I don’t think there is a problem in upbringing, black SA kids who grow up in a warm loving family are wonderful, humorous staunchly moral people, it is just that society itself has imploded.

    And yes, this is a huge oversimplification of an enormously complex social problem.

    Jean

  9. #9 Julie
    June 19, 2009

    I’m surprised no one here has mentioned the so-called “Virgin Cure.” There is a reference at the end of the BBC piece to child rape, but I wonder how many of the overall rapes in the study are rapes of infants or children for the purpose of innoculating against or curing HIV/AIDS.

    http://www.thebody.com/content/art18625.html

  10. #10 greg laden
    June 19, 2009

    That has been mentioned earlier in comments on one of the other posts on rape, but it is worth bringing it up again.

  11. #11 the real meme
    June 19, 2009

    Jean: that was an incredibly responsible and well reasoned answer to a question I have asked many-many-many people over the years.
    “the very fabric of the average black South African family has been shred over the past 40 years. ”
    I would even go deeper and suggest that the fabric has been torn for a couple hundred. And, yes, it is very complex isn’t it?
    Interesting that you note the ‘head of the family’ problem. Here in the US, despite backlash-backpedaling and so forth, young men who are raised in single mother led households actually still act as this default “head” of the family, and perpetuate many of these problems discussed above. Many of them succeed and go on to become pillars of society, etc., but most of them fill the ranks of the under-employed, the social services networks of perpetuation, and also become criminals and rapists as well–despite the fact that we as a country don’t have the post-colonialist excuse.

    As you suggest “I don’t think there is a problem in upbringing” I am also not saying there is a ‘problem’ per se, because the definitional paradigm is judgmental and that is problematic, a sort of self fulfilling prophecy.

    I am wondering, though, if there isn’t a social dynamic that has come down from earlier times where some part of the ‘nurturing’ of males includes behaviors that 1) would likely be considered illegal here in the west and 2) encourages later acting out and aggressiveness in young males, ala rape.

    For lack of a better analogy: if you raise a dog with whipping and beating, or raise a dog with spoiling and no discipline, or raise a dog with discipline and commands which of the three styles creates the dog that is most likely to bite a child or dominate in breeding?

    It seems to me that the ‘normative maternal genderizing behaviors’ and process has the potential to create rapists, and some of the maternal practices that are less discussed in the west have the potential to create monsters.

  12. #12 Scotlyn
    December 26, 2009

    I would wonder about the original phrasing of the questions that were put to the responders.

    One of the well-known difficulties in the whole experience, discourse, etc of rape, is that there can be such a huge divergence between the perceptions of the rapist and the victim as to what has occurred. This frequently results in a failure either to report, or to prosecute something that will rely on a jury having to sort out the truth claims in a “he says, she says” scenario in the absence of corroborating evidence. (The figures compiled by the Irish Rape Crisis centre suggest that two in three Irish rapes go unreported, while figures compiled by the Garda Siochana (Irish police force) suggest that only 4 in 100 reported rapes result in a conviction – I believe the statistics in most other countries are similarly grim).

    I would therefore be surprised at any survey that resulted in such a high number of rapists recognising their own acts to have been such. The likelihood is that, if one in four men admit they have raped, a larger number may have participated in sexual acts that were perceived only by the other party to have been rape – what Americans call “date rape.”