The rape of South African women is among the highest in the world, according to a Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) report released yesterday.
“A total of 250 out of every 100 000 women were victims of sexual offence, compared to 120 out of every 100 000 men,” the 2016-17 Victims of Crime report stated.
“Using the 2016-17 South African Police Service statistics, in which 80% of the reported sexual offences were rape, together with Stats SA’s estimate that 68.5% of the sexual offences victims were women, we obtain a crude estimate of the number of women raped per 100 000 as 138. This figure is among the highest in the world.”
While the murder rates of both men and women declined steadily between 2000 and 2015, the murder rate for women increased drastically, by 117%, between 2015 and 2016/17, Stats SA noted with concern.
The murder rate for men, though still higher than that of women, continued to decline between 2015 and 2016-17.
The number of women who experienced sexual offences also jumped from 31 665 in 2015-16 to 70 813 in 2016-17 – an increase of 53%.
“These are drastic increases in less than 24 months,” the report said.
In the case of individual crimes, the percentage of individuals aged 16 or older who experienced any type of crime in 2016-17 was 3.6% for women and 3.9% for men.
“Greater percentages of victims of theft of personal property, sexual offence and fraud were women, while greater percentages of victims of hijacking of motor vehicles, street robbery and assault were men.
“In terms of reporting of individual crime, greater proportions of women reported hijacking of motor vehicles, sexual offence and assault. In general, men were more satisfied with the police response than women, except for street robbery and assault, where greater percentages of women were more satisfied than men.”
An analysis of households’ satisfaction with police response to crime reporting revealed satisfaction was influenced more by perceptions concerning the police service than the gender of the household head.
The population group of the household head was another important factor determining satisfaction with police response. A white household head had more than four times the odds of being satisfied with the police than a black household head.
“An unexpected finding was that women had the same pattern of attitudes towards domestic violence as men,” Stats SA said.
One in 40 SA women believe it is acceptable for men to beat them. At least 2.6% of white women and 2.5% of black women believed men may physically assault women.
“For both men and women, the highest percentage of individuals thought it was acceptable for a man to hit a woman if she argues with him, and the lowest percentage of individuals thought it was acceptable for a man to hit a woman if she burns food.
“Black men had the highest percentage of individuals who thought it was acceptable for a man to hit a woman, followed by white women.”