Mzansi the 'world rape capital'

South Africa leads the world in rapes. A study conducted by Interpol in 2007 revealed that a woman is raped every 17 seconds in this country.

South Africa leads the world in rapes. A study conducted by Interpol in 2007 revealed that a woman is raped every 17 seconds in this country.

The results did not include the number of child rape victims.

The last official statistics on the children who reported rape in South Africa was in 2005, the year that the Child Protection and Family Unit was disbanded. Out of the 54926 rapes reported in that year 42,7percent - 23469 - involved children.

The following year, 39304 rapes were reported but there was no breakdown to show how many of these were children.

NGOs such as The Teddy Bear Clinic and Childline have called for the reopening of the unit because its closure has resulted in the "under reporting" of cases involving children.

"The move to disband the unit was very bad because police stations are intimidating to women and children. You find that even though they want to open rape cases, they fear being interrogated by police officers who have no specialised training," said Miranda Friedman, the director of Women and Men Against Child Abuse.

She operates children's clinics in Ekurhuleni and Alexandra. Last June she opened another one in northern KwaZulu-Natal. - Zinhle Mapumulo

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