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One in five South African men has committed rape, study finds

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Tuesday October 24, 2006

Johannesburg- One in five South African men has committed rape at least once, according to a study reported Tuesday. The figures, described as shocking in news reports, were compiled by the Gender Health Research unit of the country's Medical Research Council.

Of the 1,370 males between the ages of 15 and 26 years that were interviewed, about 8 per cent admitted to sexually violent behaviour towards their intimate partners, while 16,3 per cent said they had raped a non-partner or participated in some form of gang rape.

The country of 47 million has one of the highest rates of rape worldwide, with women the main victims. Researchers said they found that adversity in childhood, alcohol abuse and educated mothers were associated with both partner and non-partner rape.

National crime figures released recently show a decline of 0.3 per cent in the number of rapes to 54,926 reported cases in the 12 months to March 2006.

Women's rights groups believe that official figures represent just a small percentage of cases as most rapes are not reported.

In recent years, infants and children have been prominently listed among the rape victims in the country where the risk of HIV/AIDS infection is an added threat.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency