A new article from the BBC examines how widespread rape has become in South Africa — and draws some truly tragic conclusions. Data collected shows that every girl born in the country has a greater chance of being raped sometime during her life than learning to read. That means that one in four will probably be raped before she turns 16.
The important thing to realize is that this is what the collected data reflects. This doesn’t account for the likely high rates of unreported rape. While laws against rape have been strengthened in recent years, as well as rape awareness campaigns, the numbers keep on climbing.
Accompanying the increase in women experiencing sexual assault, this type of violence against children has jumped 400 percent in the last decade, with the bulk of victims under age 12. This crime has only been exacerbated by a widespread belief that having sex with a child or baby can cure HIV or the AIDS virus.
The BBC article explores why this trend has continued despite efforts to combat it. Sexual discrimination plays a major role, stripping women of basic rights, and instilling mean with the belief that they are entitled to whatever they want from women.
Many have also attributed the problem to the violence fostered during apartheid. When it was still law, violence against women was often condoned and the criminal justice system was powerless to do anything. Only now has the government started to crack down on rape and other sexual offenses.
This shifting attitude has also spread to the medical establishment, where more doctors and nurses are being trained to administer rape kits and provide counseling services to survivors.