JOHANNESBURG — About 37 percent of men in a key South African province admit to having raped a woman, according to a survey.
The 2010 study said that in Gauteng province, home to South Africa’s most populous city of Johannesburg, nearly 7 percent of the 487 men surveyed also said they had participated in a gang rape.
More than 51 percent of the 511 women interviewed said they’d experienced violence from men, and 78 percent of men said they’d committed violence against women, according to the government-funded study by Medical Research Foundation.
A quarter of the women interviewed said they’d been raped, but the study says only one in 25 rapes are reported to police.
A survey by the same organization in 2008 found that 28 percent of men in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces said they had raped a woman or girl. Of the men who had committed rape, one third did not feel guilty, said Rachel Jewkes, a lead researcher on both studies.
Two-thirds of the men in that study said they raped because of a sense of sexual entitlement.
“Rape is completely trivialized by a great number of men. It is seen as a legitimate activity,’’ she said. Jewkes believes South Africa’s history of racial division and associated trauma is part of the reason of the high incidence of sexual violence.
“Apartheid has contributed to culture of impunity surrounding rape in South Africa,’’ said Jewkes. Men who were abused or experienced trauma in their childhood are much more likely to rape, she said.
“We need to start interventions in childhood, focusing on building a more empowering childhood environment in South Africa, especially for boys,’’ she said, “and we need to make it worth their while for women to report sexual violence.’’