Inside SA's Rape Stats

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More than 2 000 people have reported rape cases in Gauteng since the beginning of this year, making the country's economic hub the top province for recorded rapes in South Africa. This is according to the fourth quarter crime statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele on Friday. A breakdown of the data shows that Gauteng recorded 2 031 rapes, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 1 722 cases and the Eastern Cape with 1 660 cases.

Nine police stations in Gauteng featured on the list of the top 30 police stations in the country where incidents of rape were recorded. These are the Moroka, Mamelodi East, Alexandra, Kagiso, Rietgat, Temba, Honeydew, Ivory Park and Orange Farm police stations. 

Countrywide, a total of 9 518 rape cases were reported for the period January to March 2021. This represents a decrease of 387 cases compared to the corresponding period in 2020.

Raped at home
"A sample of 6 893 of the rape incidents revealed that 4 130 took place at the home of the victim or the home of the alleged rapist," Cele said.

Rape made up the bulk of the 12 133 sexual offences cases reported, which included 477 sexual assault cases, 60 attempted sexual offences and 57 contact sexual offences.

Cele assured the country that gender-based violence (GBV) remains a priority crime for the police.

"When it comes to GBV, there is no room for complacency," Cele told police officers. "Those sleeping on the job must get their act together or ship out."

GBV victims want to speak out
SA Women Fight Back founder Bronwyn Litkie told News24 the 9 518 rape cases recorded in three months was "shocking".

She cautioned that the police's rape statistics were not an accurate reflection of the situation because many rape cases go unreported for a number of reasons.

"SA Women Fight Back and fellow GBV NPOs, such as Women for Change and the Tears Foundation, are struggling to keep up with the massive increase of GBV victims wanting to speak out and that need of urgent assistance. With limited resources, we are struggling to help them all," Litkie said.

'It's not about the numbers'
Police should use crime statistics to inform the public who they are working with to find out why incidents of rape are increasing in certain areas, gender violence researcher at the University of Johannesburg Lisa Vetten told News24.

"How are you using this information and who are you working with in order to find out what you can do to reduce rape cases?"

Vetten said although police are constrained, it provides an opportunity for them to collaborate with a range of institutions to understand how they can intervene in a more meaningful way

Date of article: May 2021.