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Some statistics are just sad beyond words.

A study commissioned by the Medical Research Foundation, a group funded by the South African government, has wielded some disturbing findings about violence against women. According to the study, more than 1-in-3 men of Johannesburg have committed rape at some point in their lives. Roughly seven percent of the men sampled admitted to participating in a gang rape.

The study also found that over 51 percent of the 511 women surveyed had been victims of violence from men. Also, 78 percent of men admitted to committing a violent act against a woman. One fourth of the women in the survey said that they’d been raped, but only about four percent of these rapes are reported to police.

These findings are similar to a 2008 study that found that 28 percent of the men in Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces had committed rape against a woman or girl. Also, one-third of the men said they did not feel guilty for what they’d done. Two-thirds of the men claimed to have committed rape out of a sense of entitlement, and others raped out of boredom or a desire to punish women who’d rejected them.

The study’s author, Rachel Jewkes, said that apartheid may have played a role in creating a culture in which violence against women has been trivialized.

“Apartheid has contributed to culture of impunity surrounding rape in South Africa,” said Jewkes. She also says that men who experienced trauma or were abused were much more likely to commit rape than other men.

If racism is partly to blame for these statistics, could the same thing happen here in the U.S.?




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