It is a sad indictment of South African society that when it comes to international indexes, SA is at the top of the most shameful table: the incidence of women raped.
According to figures released this week by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), a total of 250 women out of every 100 000 in this country are victims of a sexual offence.
Extrapolating from numbers compiled by the SA Police Service – which estimates that 80% of sexual offences are rapes – and using its own research, which shows almost 70% of sexual offence victims are women, Stats SA calculated that the rape rate in this country is 138 per 100 000.
This figure is one of the highest in the world.
That is something to be more than concerned about – it should fill people with horror.
Women in this country are already second-class citizens, with African females being at the bottom of a very high pyramid of power and abuse. This level of sexual abuse and rape is the most egregious violation of human rights in this country at present. There is no other way of expressing it.
The vast majority of rapists are men and the fact that the incidence of rape is still so high is proof positive that South Africa’s males are not changing and that most of them still live in an almost medieval mindset, which sees women as possessions and objects.
And once a woman has been filed away in that category in the mind of a man, it is so much easier to hit her, abuse her and even rape her.
Government needs to introduce gender education from the earliest stage of schooling to ensure SA inculcates a new attitude – one of respect to women. Unless SA does that, rape will always be a stain on our nation.