It is estimated that 40% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and only 8.6% of rape perpetrators are ever convicted. Unfortunately, most people believe that rapes only occur in dark alleyways and are carried out by hooded strangers.
New statistics released by Rape Crisis reveals that 68% of rape survivors in fact knew their rapist, and that their trust has been broken in places they considered to be safe.
“They have been betrayed by a friend, husband, family member, and colleague,” the organisation said. “If women can’t trust those closest to them, who can they trust? Many struggle to speak out about their experiences for fear their trust will be further betrayed.”
More than 351 rape survivors have called the 24-hour helpline and received immediate support as well as advice. This can increase the chance of victims reporting cases to the Criminal Justice System, which received 80 more cases in 2018 than it did in 2017.
“More than 3 440 rape survivors accessing three hospital forensic units were offered counselling, experienced reduced secondary trauma and were encouraged to remain within the Criminal Justice System, an increase of 230 on last year,” Rape Crisis said. “A further 2 273 supporters were also assisted. 888 survivors at courts were offered support and felt empowered in the process of taking their cases to trial, a decrease of 662 on last year. 475 witnesses for the complainant were also supported.”
A new campaign by the organisation serves to highlight exactly how harrowing the experience of rape is and the devastating consequences it can have on victims.
If you or someone you know has been raped, trained Rape Crisis counsellors are available to talk to through the organisation’s dedicated 24-hour hotline on 021 447 9762.