According to a survey for the period 1998–2000 compiled by the United Nations, South Africa was ranked first for rapes per capita. In 1998, one in three of the 4,000 women questioned in Johannesburg was raped, according to CIET Africa.
More than 25% of a sample of 1,738 South African men from the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces admitted when anonymously questioned to raping someone; of those, nearly half said they had raped more than one person, according to a non-peer reviewed policy brief issued by the Medical Research Council (MRC) . Several news publications extrapolated these results to the rest of the South African population.  Nearly three out of four who admitted rape stated they had first forced a woman or girl into sex before the age of 20, and nearly one in ten admitted doing so before the age of 10.
South Africa has some of the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world. A survey by CIET found 60% of both boys and girls thought it was not violence to force sex upon someone they knew, while around 11% of boys and 4% of girls admitted to forcing someone else to have sex with them. In a related survey conducted among 1,500 schoolchildren in the Johannesburg township of Soweto, a quarter of all the boys interviewed said that 'jackrolling', a term for gang rape, was fun. More than half the interviewees insisted that when a girl says no to sex she really means yes.
More than 67,000 cases of rape and sexual assaults against children were reported in 2000 in South Africa, compared to 37,500 in 1998. Child welfare groups believe that the number of unreported incidents could be up to 10 times that number. The largest increase in attacks was against children under seven. Although rises in poverty, violent crime and unemployment are said to have contributed to the escalation in child abuse, the most significant and worrying factor is the widespread myth sweeping the country that having sex with a virgin will cure a man of HIV or AIDS.
According to University of Durban-Westville anthropology lecturer and researcher Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala, this myth is not confined to South Africa. “Fellow AIDS researchers in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria have told me that the myth also exists in these countries and that it is being blamed for the high rate of sexual abuse against young children.”
South Africa has the highest number of HIV-positive citizens in the world. According to official figures, one in eight South Africans are infected with the virus. Edith Kriel, a social worker who helps child victims in the Eastern Cape, said: “Child abusers are often relatives of their victims - even their fathers and providers.”
According to the Rape Survivor Journey website * Rape Stories and Statistics South Africa and Worldwide (set up by a Rape survivor) - an onsite survey indicates that out of 952 respondents, 30% were aged 16-20 when they were raped; 27.8% between the ages of 10-15 years old; 15.7% between the ages of 21-30 years old; 15.1% were younger than 10 years old; and 11% were older than 30.
Lesbians in South Africa also face a dangerous environment. Especially in the black community, "corrective" or "curative" rape is believed to convert them to heterosexuality. The government has been accused of condoning the practice for fear of not appearing "macho."  One notable case of this was the gang-rape and murder of Eudy Simelane, a member of the South African football team and LGBT-rights activist.
- Rape Stories and Statistics South Africa and Worldwide
- Sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Crime in South Africa
- "NationMaster: Crime Statistics > Rapes (per capita) (most recent) by country". http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_rap_percap-crime-rapes-per-capita.
- South Africa’s rape shock
- Template:Cite report
- "South African rape survey shock." BBC News. June 18, 2009.
- "Quarter of men in South Africa admit rape, survey finds". The Guardian. June 17, 2009.
- "SOUTH AFRICA: One in four men rape". IRIN Africa. June 18, 2009.
- Oprah scandal rocks South Africa
- South African men rape babies as 'cure' for Aids
- Child rape: A taboo within the AIDS taboo
- South African lesbians exposed to "curative" rape
- Yolanda Mufweba, "'Corrective rape makes you an African woman'", Saturday Star, 2003-11-07
- Kelly, Annie , "Raped and killed for being a lesbian: South Africa ignores 'corrective' attacks", The Guardian, 2009-03-12