A lack of appropriate action by South Africa’s leaders has allowed the country to become the rape capital of the world, the Democratic Alliance’s shadow minister for gender said on Friday.
Denise Robinson said a Medical Research Council report released this week that found one in four South African men had raped a woman or girl, was ”deeply disturbing”.
”Of equal concern is that roughly 10% of these men forced themselves on a victim before the age of 10.
”Appropriate attitudes and positions need to be taken by those in leadership positions,” Robinson said.
Robinson said respect for women had to be instilled in all men from an early age as one way of rectifying the ”appalling” situation.
”School teachers and principals play a pivotal role in this, as does the Department of Education,” she said.
The ”severe” under-reporting of rape was another fundamental problem to be addressed.
Victims, she said, were reluctant to report abuse for reasons such as social stigma and the fact that the South African Police Service (SAPS) was not victim-friendly.
This was in large part a result of the government’s cutback of specialised units aimed specifically at assisting victims of sexual abuse.
A Rapcan study published in March showed that the integration of the specialised units into mainstream SAPS had been a failure, said Robinson.
”As yet, the government has done nothing to address this report’s findings.
”It is precisely this lack of appropriate action that has allowed South Africa to become the rape capital of the world.” — Sapa