Rape culture

South Africa sees drop in sexual offenses, but rape epidemic continues

Local women in Qunu, South Africa. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

On Tuesday, South Africa released their annual crime figures, revealing that the number of sexual offenses has dropped by over five percent. Experts however note that the majority of rapes in the country go unreported, and that even when taken to court, convictions prove hard to come by. Professor Dineo Gqola of the University of the Witwatersrand contends that solutions moving forward must involve dialogues with young boys to better understand what they are learning about what it means to be a man or a woman. Her new book centers around the 2006 rape trial of Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s deputy president at the time and South Africa’s current president. Zuma was accused of raping a lesbian HIV-positive activist and family friend, a woman known as Khwezi. During the case, Khwezi’s previous sexual history was paraded in front of the court in order to characterize her as “impossible to rape,” a tactic that has been used against sex workers, wives, slaves and men throughout South African history from British Colonial days onward. The case was resolved quickly in favor of Mr. Zuma. Progress may be being made, but South Africa’s rape epidemic doesn’t look to be ending any time soon.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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