South Africa Research | Youth

Child Sexual Abuse in South Africa

Commissioned by the UBS Optimus Foundation, the Optimus Study is a first-of-its-kind national survey of the annual incidence and lifetime prevalence of child sexual abuse in South Africa, providing both a point-in-time and longitudinal perspective on South African child victimization. In the context of the study, sexual abuse is defined in both its contact and non-contact forms, including exposure (subjection to voyeurism, exhibitionism, and forced pornographic viewing), exploitation (involvement in sexual activities for pornography and/or prostitution), and contact (sexual assault and rape). With more than a third of schoolchildren reporting having experienced some form of sexual violence, the report offers a framework for addressing not only the high levels of abuse incidence, but also the negative outcomes associated with abuse including mental illness and lowered educational outcomes.

35.6%

Percentage of South African schoolchildren reporting having experienced some form of sexual abuse

36.8% (boys) / 33.9% (girls)

Percentage reporting having been sexually abused, by gender

15 (boys) / 14 (girls)

Average age of first incidence of sexual abuse

11.3%

Percentage who reported unwanted sexual touching by an adult

9.4%

Percentage who reported being made to do sexual things by another child or teen

11.7%

Percentage reporting being forced to have sex

12.9%

Percentage reporting exposure abuse

0% (boys) / 31.0% (girls)

Percentage who reported abuse by a familiar adult to police

~20%

Percentage experiencing trouble with schoolwork and/or school attendance in wake of abuse

2x (anxiety and depression) / 3x (PTSD symptoms)

Likelihood of those who experienced abuse to report symptoms of mental illness relative to young South Africans as a whole

Read:
Optimus Study South Africa: Technical Report (The Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention and the University of Cape Town)

Additional:
Perfect Storm of kids at risk: Why a third of SA’s children are sexually abused” (The Daily Maverick)
1 in 3 young South Africans sexually abused” (UBS Optimus Foundation press release, via Parent24)

Commissioning Organization: UBS Optimus Foundation

Brazil News | Women

Gang rape of 16-year-old sparks protests in Brazil
  • The case garnered international attention when a video went up on Twitter showing more than 30 men participating in the rape of the girl, apparently unconscious, in a Rio favela.
  • The crime was exacerbated by a slow, victim-antagonistic police response and a flood of misogynistic messages on social media.
  • Thousands marched in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in protest of high levels of gender-based violence in the country, with upwards of 10% of Brazilian women reporting cases of sexual violence along and a larger number of unreported cases.

Read more:
Brazil and Argentina unite in protest against culture of sexual violence” (The Guardian)
Massive Protests in Brazil After a Girl Was Blamed for Being Gang-Raped in Rio” (VICE News)
Gender violence protests in São Paulo” (The Buenos Aires Herald)

(Image Credit: Xinhua/Barcroft Images, via The Guardian)