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June 19, 2009

Study Links South Africa Rape Incidence to Macho Culture

South Africa’s male-dominated culture is contributing to that country’s high incidence of rape, according to a study from the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) and reported on by Reuters.

According to the study, 28 percent of male study participants admitted to raping someone. Of those, 19.6 percent were HIV positive. Study author Rachel Jewkes says that more must be done to end abuses against women, which she affirms is driving the rate of new HIV infections in the country. She acknowledged that fighting gender inequality by revamping South Africa’s criminal justice system would not be enough.  

“Fundamentally, rape is a problem that stems from ideas of manhood in South Africa,” said Jewkes, who heads MRC’s Gender and Health Research Unit. “The position of men is superior to women in a patriarchal society and legitimates men’s behaviors towards women, predicated on ideas of sexual entitlement and behaviors that demonstrate men being in control over women.”

In addition, men who admitted to committing rape were more likely to have had more than 20 sexual partners, have had sex with a sex worker, raped a man and not used condoms consistently in the past year.

Search: South Africa, rape, male-dominated, macho, South African Medical Research Council, Rachel Jewkes

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