Lies, damn lies ... and statistics

"One rape is one rape too many,"
President Thabo Mbeki, before the National Chamber of Provinces, November, 1999
South African Veils Crime Data, Faulting System (NY Times, August 3, 2000)

South Africa's minister of safety and security has ordered an indefinite moratorium on the release of crime statistics, saying the system for collecting such information here in one of the world's most crime-plagued countries is flawed and unreliable....

Few of the country's problems have done more to discourage foreign investment and international tourism than the high rate of violent crime. Carjackings and other types of robberies, widely considered a barometer of personal safety have climed steadily since 1994, according to the last crime statistics released by the police before the moratorium took effect this month.The murder rate has declined in the last five years to 55.3 per 100 000 in 1999, from 69.3 per 100 000 in 1994, according to an analysis by the Institute for Security Studies. But it remains among the highest in the world, and much of the decrease has been attributed to the gradual falloff in politically motivated killings that racked the country in the mid-1990s during the transition to black majority rule."

* 1998, SA Police Service reported 65 murders a day.

* The Commission on Gender Equality (govt) and Rape Crisis reported a rape every 26 seconds and that one woman in two will be raped in her lifetime, based on police estimates issued in 1997.

* One in two SA women will be raped University of SA (Unisa), March 29, 1999; Commission on Gender Equality (1999) - both government bodies; and Rape Crisis, 1999.

* One in four girl children and one in five boy children under the age of 16 have been sexually molested (Childline, 1999).

* Rapists and paedophiles are serial offenders, studies from around the world have shown they cannot be rehabilitated. In SA, NICRO attempted rehabilitation, but says that although they have success for a time, "at some stage they rape again." (National Institute for Criminal Rehabilitation, 1999)

* The SA Law Commission in mid-September, 1999, noted police estimates that only one in 35 rapes are reported; using this rule the SALC concluded that in 1998 there were 1 636 810 rapes in SA. Using the lowest estimate, that of NICRO that one in 20 rapes are reported, in 1998 there would have been 934 960 rapes. Interpol (1999) says, "South Africa remains in an 'undisputed first place' as far as reported cases of rape are concerned."

* In 1998 just under seven percent of the rapes reported were prosecuted (Department of Justice, 1999).

* 75% of rapes are gang rapes, a woman or child is more likely to be raped by 3 to 30 perpetrators in SA than by single person, however, the rapist who acts alone is more likely to kill(Groote Schuur, various district surgeons offices, rape clinics and police figures).

* 60% of rapes take place in the home (Unisa, 1999).

* 85% of rapists are armed, usually with a knife (Unisa, 1999).

* Rape clinics report that 16% of women are already infected with HIV on the day they are raped (Sunninghill Clinic, 1999); compared to 36% of all pregnant women who are infected (Dept Health); 75% of all paediatric deaths at Johannesburg hospital are AIDS related. (jhb hospital, 1999). One in three children admitted to any public hospital in SA is HIV-infected or suffering from an AIDS related illness (Department Health and hospitals) - and yet Dept Health says that only one in five South Africans are infected.

* By 2005 our average life expectancy in SA will be 35, one percent of GDP will be lost to HIV/AIDS and 75% of hospital budgets will be spent in treating HIV/AIDS (Bristol Meyers Squibb, AIDS research University of Natal, British government, SA government, etc...)

* About a third of those raped who do not receive antiretrovirals become HIV+ (tentative research from HIV and rape researchers, various, 1999)

* A study released in Johannesburg in June, 2000, by Community Information Empowerment and Transparency showed that:

* One in four young men in SA admitted they had raped. For every 400 rapes, only 17 became official cases and only ONE perpetrator is convicted. For every perpetrator convicted, there was a docket lost or sold.

* In South Africa there are 1 800 new HIV infections a day(Department of Health, 1999)

* The Johannesburg Hospital estimates that 40% of young men aged 20 to 29 - the most common age group of rapists, are infected with HIV (1999)

* June, 2000 - report of the United Nationas Economic Commission for Africa (researcher Carol Coombes): "violence is common and even considered the norm in sexual relationships. "Research in one township found that all the girls (mean age 16.4 years) had had sexual intercourse...a third described their first sexual experience as rape or forced sex, and two-thirds of teenagers had experienced sex against their wishes. "A qualitative study among Xhosa-speaking pregnant adolescent women revealed that violent and coercive male behaviour... directly affected the capacity (of young women) to protect themselves against STDs, pregnancy and unwanted sexual intercourse. Communication between partners on sexual issues was non-existent, and conditions and timing of sex were defined by male partners, giving young women little or no opportunity to discuss or practice safer sex." Similar data was presented to the AIDS conference in Durban by British researcher, Kate Wood, reporting on a 10 month study in Transkei.

* There is a myth across Africa, including SA, that a person can cleanse himself of HIV by raping a virgin.   Reseachers at the World AIDS conference in Durban, July 2000, reported that this myth had spread to Asia.

* UNISA says the rape graph rises sharply in girls aged 11, and peaks at ages 13 to 25.

* The Department of Health noted in 1998 that the incidence of HIV is highest in girls aged 15 to 25.

* DoH noted in May, 2000, that 20% of girls aged 13 to 19 were infected with HIV.

* The World Bank and Unicef noted, 1999, that six times more girls were infected in Africa than boys.

* UNAIDS noted, June 2000, that half of all 15 year old boys in southern Africa would become infected in their lifetime.

* SA Police Service statistics show that in 1996, 19 755 children aged 0 to 17 years were raped (this does    not include indecent assault (anal or oral sex), only vaginal penetration or attempts), in that same year    30 726 women aged 18+ were raped. In KwaZulu Natal, the province with the highest incidence of HIV    (and where the myth about raping virgins is prevalent) 4 107 (0-17) were raped, compared to 4 599- 18+. 1997: 0-17 = 21 404 18+ = 30 756 KZN: 0-17 = 4 259 18+ = 4 380 1998: 0-17 = 19 836 18+ = 29 440 KZN: 0-17 = 4 300 18+ = 4 225.

* In Zambia, research conducted by the government and Unicef showed the rate of HIV infection in girls is five to seven times higher than among boys the same age. Doreen Mulenga, health officer for Unicef, Zambia said the biggest contributor to the difference is "cross generation infection" - older men passing the virus to younger girls. Research conducted in the early 1990s in Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi has pointed to higher infection rates among young girls and men older than 30. At that time, the phenomenon was largely attributed to the so-called sugar daddy syndrome, in which teenage girls pursue relationships with well to do men to escape poverty... Across Africa, the burden and guilt of sexually transmitted diseases traditionally fall upon women; in Shona, the language of most Zimbabweans, AIDS and other sexual infections are known as chirwere chevadkadzi - women's diseases... During the first 3 months of 1998, 5 214 SA girls under 18 were reported raped keeping pace with last year's record of 21 404. Reported rapes in Zimbabwe have increased 30% in the last five years and more than half the cases in 1997 involved children, a large number of them under 5. (Los Angeles Times, December, 1998)

* The rape of girls under the age of 12 increased 65% in 1998 and 1999 (Government of Botswana Survey of Rape, 1999)

* Police figures for rape are broken down into "reported rape" which in terms of present definitions can only include vaginal rape; male rape is not included in statistics and is not classified as rape, it is extraordinarily difficult to get male rape investigated, it was previously classified as sodomy, however, sodomy is no longer a crime and in a rare instance it may be classified as indecent assault; anal and oral rape are classified as indecent assault - indecent assault is listed separately; sex with adolescent girls under the age of 16 is called "statutory rape" and is classified with the rape of so- called "imbeciles". Based on those categories rape in 1997 - 52 160; girls under age or "female imbecile" 537; indecent assault 5 053 = total all rape in 1997: 57 750 1998: rape reported 49 280; under age and "imbecile" 474; indecent assault 4 851 Total all rape in 1998: 54 605 Rape per 100 000 population according to the SA Police on reported figures and not including underage/imbecile or indecent assault was in 1994 109,6; 95 - 119,8; 96 - 124,4; 97 - 125,6; 98 - 115,8.

* In 1995 (when 35 000 rapes were reported) government's Human Sciences Research Council reported that SA had 149,5 rapes per 100 000 population, compared to 34,4 rapes per 100 000 in the USA. In other words, a woman has a five times higher chance of being raped in SA than in the USA.

* Rape homicide expert, Dr Lorna Martin, a forensic pathologist at the University of Cape Town says a woman is 40 times more likely to be raped in Cape Town than in any city in Europe (June, 1999). The last rape statistics issued by the SA Police Service show that rape statistics for January to June for the years 1994 to 1999 were: 94 = 18 801; 1995 =21 540; 1996 = 24 269; 1997 - 24 806; 1998 = 23 374; 1999 = 23 900. There are 43m people in SA based on South African govt stats; the United Nations estimates SAs population at 39m (UNAIDS, June 2000) The CIET survey (cited above) showed no correlation between sexual violence and unemployment. Even when it came to jack-rolling or recreational rape at gunpoint, two percent more of the employed than the unemployed said they liked it.(Leadership, August 2000)

* The SA government refuses to give antiretrovirals to stop mother to child transmission. Economist Nicoli Nattrass of the University fo Cape Town has said funding a short course of AZT is 18 times cheaper than caring for a child born with AIDS over the average 5 years of its life (Sunday Independent, June 11, 2000). Government has also rejected an offer of free Nevirapine, including all shipping and delivery costs. Pfizer gives Diflucan free to SAs with Cryptococcal Meningitis.

* In 1996, Gencor estimated that 20% of its 100 000 workforce was infected with AIDS with 30 mineworkers dying each week.

* July, 2000: the SA Democratic Teachers Union announces that two teachers are dying each day from AIDS and that by 2001, teachers will be dying faster than government can train them.

* The Minister of Minerals and Energy notes that 28% of mineworkers are HIV+ and this has led to production losses of 15% (Sunday Independent, June 11, 2000).

* The US Central Intelligence Agency, February 2000, estimated that 70% of the SA National Defence Force was HIV+


* As of June 1999, women accounted for 16.3% of all persons ever reported with AIDS in the USA, and 23% of person with AIDS in the most recent reporting year. A large proportion of women are acquiring HIV thorugh their sexual relationships with men - from 15% in 1983 to 40% in 1999. (Center for Disease Control, 2000).

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