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South Africa: Sexual violence affects 10 percent of men, study shows

In South Africa, sexual violence survivors and perpetrators have a higher risk of HIV infection

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"No means No " is written on the back of a woman as more than a thousand people march through Cape Town during a protest against the further victimisation of sexual abuse victims. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

A new study shows that almost ten percent of South African men have experienced some type of sexual violence by another man. The study also finds that one in four South African men admitted to having raped a woman, and that little attention was paid to the sexual violence that men themselves may have experienced, reports IRIN News.

The study is based on a household survey conducted in two of South Africa's nine provinces by the Medical Research Council. It interviews 1,740 men, and has become commonly known as the "MRC rape study."

30 percent of the men reported being orally or anally raped. Many male survivors also reported that they had been forced to engage in acts such as thigh sex, in which a male perpetrator places his penis between the thighs of the victim.

The study researched the relationships between male victimization and HIV risk and was presented at the Sexual Violence Research Initiative in Cape Town by Kristin Dunkle, an assistant professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

Dunkle's work found that both the perpetrators as well as the survivors of male-on-male sexual violence were more likely to be HIV positive-- showing that there was an elevated HIV risk among men who commit intimate partner violence.

According to Mary Ellsberg, vice president of research and programs at the International Centre for Research of Women, who spoke to IRIN/Plus News:

"From previous MRC studies we see that [high HIV prevalence] results  from a combination of factors for women who are beaten and raped by their husbands - they are having consistent sexual encounters with these men."

"But we also know that women who are raped only once by a stranger – while they can contract HIV from the rape – don’t have a higher HIV prevalence than other women overall. The rape of men who aren’t MSM also seems unlikely to be ongoing, so it’s an infrequent exposure and it makes sense that their risk is similar to the general population."

The study also shows that women are overwhelmingly at risk, as men who perorate violence against men also perpetrate violence against women. According to Dunkle, there's more than a 80 percent overlap.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/111019/south-africa-sexual-violence-men