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About Rape

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

What is statutory rape?

Statutory rape is sex below the age of consent. If a man has sex with you and you are younger than sixteen years old, which is the age of consent, he can be charged with statutory rape, regardless of whether you agreed to have sex with him or not. He can automatically be prosecuted whether you wish to lay a charge or not. Charges will sometimes be laid against the offender by a concerned adult who is worried that you may have been coerced or manipulated into having sex, or who knows that you’ve been raped and are not able or willing to press charges yourself.

What is acquaintance rape?

This is sex or sexual activity forced on you, and most often planned before hand, by a person who knows you. This person could be your date, your friend, a close family friend, or even your flesh and blood – a person in your immediate or extended family such as your grandfather, uncle or your father – whom you trusted to never take advantage of you. Employer / employee, doctor / patient, teacher / student, father / daughter, whatever the relationship, if someone you know has sex with you against your will, it’s rape.

What is date rape?

This is a form of acquaintance rape. A man who asks you out may not plan to rape you, but if he does plan to have sex with you, he may carry out this plan against your will, which is date rape. He may drug you with date-rape drugs like rohypnol or ketamine, or ply you with alcohol, to make it easier for him to get what he wants. A date is an opportunity for two people to get to know each other and you are in no way obliged to have sex with a man or boy because he expects it, or wrongly believes he deserves sex after he’s “shown you a good time” and bought you a gift, drinks or dinner.

What is stranger rape?

It’s when you are raped or sexually violated by someone you don’t know. The most dangerous kind of rapist is the predator who preys on women and vulnerable children at random. He may resort to extreme violence or torture to exert his power over you. When you are attacked and raped by someone you don’t know, the rape is primarily an act to control, humiliate and degrade you.

What is gang rape?

If you are raped by two or more people, this is gang rape. Sometimes referred to as “jackrolling”, gang rape is described by researchers as a youth phenomenon, stemming from a history of class and race structures, and unemployment, of the 1980’s. Gang rape is still linked to a chauvinistic and distorted view that the man is more important than the woman, and that man is the “boss”.

Now, especially prevalent in youth culture, young males may gang rape to bond, to prove their masculinity in front of other men, and to reassert their power as “tough gangsters”. If you are gang raped in your home your husband, boyfriend or partner may be forced to watch.

Gang rape statistics

Over 40% of rapists in South Africa have engaged in gang rape. Author Dr Eve quotes the frightening statistics that 50% of perpetrators are known to the victim, and 85% of rapes are gang rapes. In South African, a woman is more likely to be raped by three to thirty men than by one man.


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