Lost Girls of South Africa


“a child is raped in South Africa every three minutes, but almost nine out of ten cases of child rape are never reported”


Solidarity Helping Hand (http://www.kindermisdaad.co.za/) published analysis of statistics in June 2009.  According to SA govt. statistics site Statistics South Africa (http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/Rape/Rape.pdf) there are 60 cases of child rape reported every day In South Africa.

The National Youth Victimisation Study of 2005 (http://www.cjcp.org.za/admin/uploads/Final.RichReward.pdf page 62) found that only 11.3% of rapes are reported to the South African Police Service.

(Though some authorities, eg. National Institute of Crime Rehabilitation, contest this and say the figure is closer to 1 in 20)

If 60 child rapes are reported and that represents 11.3% of all rapes, they extrapolated that 530 child rapes take place every day.  This equals 1 child rape every three minutes. 


“Rape is the least likely violent crime to be reported, and victims cite fear of reprisal as the commonest reason for not telling anyone.”


Source: Statistics South Africa, Victims of Crime Survey, pp14, 33.3% give fear of reprisal as main reason for not reporting (http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/Rape/Rape.pdf)



A girl born in South Africa has around a 1 in 3 chance of completing secondary school, but she has a 1 in 2 chance of being raped.


According to government statistics (http://www.population.gov.za/pop_dev/index.php/Download-document/11-The-Youth.html ) 170,000 girls per year pass Grade 12 (ie. graduate from secondary school).  The population of South Africa is around 500,000 girls per year group, therefore 34% (1 in 3) complete High School.


According to The Rape Survivor Journal 09/01/2008 (http://www.rape.co.za/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=875)

A study by Interpol, the international police agency, has revealed that South Africa leads the world in rapes. A woman was raped in South Africa every 17 seconds. This did not include the number of child rape victims. It estimated that one in every two women would be raped. Between 28 and 30 percent of adolescents reported that their first sexual encounter was forced. Of South African men who knew somebody who had been raped, 16 percent believed that the rape survivor had enjoyed the experience and had asked for it. 



Around one third of rape victims are raped by a close relation


34.6% Statistics South Africa – Quantitative Research Findings on Rape, pp 13




South Africa is the rape capital in the world, with a woman 8 times more likely to be raped than in the UK.  It is also one of the world’s most violent societies, with a murder rate 35 times higher than the UK





The South African Department of Justice estimating that 1 in 4 women suffer domestic violence

(450.311 Domestic Violence: Submission to the South African Law Commission in the Light of International and Constitutional Human Rights Jurisprudence Part 1, May 1997)



Around 200,000 children a year are raped in South Africa

At least 500,000 rapes per annum (see above) and according to UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/southafrica/SAF_resources_gembrief.pdf )  “40% of reported rapes were committed against children during 2004/05”

This produces a figure of 200,000 child rapes per annum



Of the cases of sexual abuse Port Elizabeth Childline dealt with in 2009, over 80% involved children under 14.


PE Childline 92nd Annual Report 2009

Child Abuse/Neglect Cases by age

0-2 yrs 20 sexually abused

3-6 yrs 140 sexually abused

7-13yrs 264 sexually abused

14-18 yrs 91 sexually abused

Total 515

82.33% under 14



Less than one percent of rapes end in a successful prosecution.


“Sexual violence as such is the fastest growing crime in the world and the one that is least likely to result in conviction. In New York crime dropped by about 10% in 2002, except for rape, which increased by 5,6%. In Britain just over 5% of rape cases are effectively prosecuted, while in South Africa the figure is 1%.”

Rape In Contemporary South Africa - More Vexing And Vicious Than Ever

Pieter Coetzer http://www.rapeoutcry.co.za/resources/Rape%20in%20contemporary%20South%20Africa.pdf


However according to a report by Nonhlanhla Sibanda of People Opposing Women’s Abuse on Women’s Experiences of the Criminal Justice System, “less than one in nine cases of rape are reported and only 7% of these cases result in a conviction” 


This yields a conviction rate of just 0.77%



A Medical Research Council survey in 2009 found that in South Africa 1 in 4 men say they have raped at least once, with half of those admitting to multiple attacks.



Researchers interviewed 1,738 men of all race groups, in both urban and rural settings in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, provinces marked by high rates of AIDS and poverty, and the men answered questions about rape and HIV using small handheld computers in order to guarantee anonymity. Rape of a woman or girl had been perpetrated by 27.6% of the men interviewed, and 46% of those said that they had raped more than once.



Around 40% of rape victims in South Africa are children. 

In Port Elizabeth, the country’s fifth largest city, it’s estimated that around a dozen children are raped every day


“Approximately 40% of reported rape cases are rape of children under the age of 18 years.”

http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/Rape/Rape.pdf  page 2


Population S Africa = 48 million,  Population PE = median 1.1 million, 530 child rapes per day in SA (see above) = 12 per day in PE

Also confirmed as a fair estimate by the Director of PE Childline by email



A survey of over a quarter of a million schoolchildren found that 62% of South African schoolboys believe forcing sex on someone is not an act of violence, and one third of male learners believe girls enjoy rape.


National cross sectional study of views on sexual violence and risk of HIV infection and AIDS among South African school pupils

BMJ  2004;329:952 (23 October),

Funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and UNICEF, the study covered 283,000 in-school youth across all nine provinces, and 2,909 out-of-school youth between 10 and 22 years in three provinces.



Forcing sex not violent – 79,007 boys out of 126,696 total boys = 62.35%

Girls enjoy rape – 40,714 boys out of 126,696 total boys = 32.1% (one third)