Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Stats in context: SA vs DRC

The DRC has become recognised as rape-central, especially over the past few months. Activists demand action from a seemingly paralysed UN, international bodies try desperately to propose solutions and researchers descend on the country in an attempt to quantify and explain the phenomenon. Congo Siasa has a post today looking at the numbers. I was struck by two things. Firstly, the suggestion that sexual violence is rampant across the country and may not be entirely, exclusively linked to the conflict and secondly, the figures of forced sex from the 2007 Demographic and Health Survey:

10% said that the first time they had had sex it was forced; 16% said that as some point in their life they had been forced to have sex; and 4% said that they had been forced to have sex in the previous 12 months.
The figures are shocking. They're bad. That is not a question; it's not up for debate. What shocked me more was my surprise because I expected them to be higher.

In 1994, the year South Africa became a democracy, 42 429 cases of rape were reported to the police. In a 2004 study by CIETAfrica, 9 per cent of 10-22 year old respondents said they had been forced to have sex in the previous 12 months. 

South Africa's 2010 crime stats show a drop in reported sexual offences to 68 332 in the 2009/2010 reporting year.  In the DRC in 2009, UNFPA recorded 17 507 incidents of sexual violence.

This does not, in any way, make the situation in the Congo okay but it does highlights just how bad things are in South Africa.

Update: Latest stats from Congo Siasa 

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