One every four women living in South Africa’s platinum mining belt has been raped in her lifetime, a study by the medical charity MSF revealed yesterday.
MSF (Doctors Without Borders) randomly surveyed more than 800 women aged between 18 and 49 in Rustenburg, North West, over a two-month period at the end of last year.
“What was striking for us is that if you use the prevalence rate, you can say there were about 11 000 women who were affected every year,” said Garret Barnwell, an MSF humanitarian affairs officer in the area.
The report cited community health worker Rosina Palai as saying “for many women, sexual violence has become part of their daily lives. Violence is routine.” The report also showed that only 5% of the women who were raped visited a healthcare facility for post-rape care and treatment.
Stigma plays a part, said Barnwell, adding that respondents also had trouble trusting the staff at clinics. Only half of those surveyed knew HIV infection could be prevented by rapid use of anti-HIV medication after being raped.
MSF said the report results were “shocking but not uncommon” in a country where the prevalence of rape was high.