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International News

South Africa Recognizes Forced Anal Sex as Rape

May 11, 2007

On Thursday, South Africa's Constitutional Court ruled that forced anal sex with a woman or girl, previously classified as indecent assault, is rape. The court did not make a ruling on non-consensual anal sex with men or boys, saying that went beyond the facts of the case in question. The case before the court dealt with a man, 44, convicted of raping a girl, 9, three years ago.

Some 50,000 rapes, including nearly 20,000 attacks on children, are reported to South African police annually. Women's groups say a full, accurate count would produce a number closer to 1.5 million.

The Constitutional Court's ruling said, "The case raises constitutional issues of considerable public importance." The court said the trauma of anal rape was just as humiliating, degrading, and physically hurtful as vaginal rape, and both forms of violation carried the threat of HIV infection.

The court described the prevalence of sexual violence in South Africa as "deeply troubling" and said changing the definition of rape would "express the abhorrence with which our society regards these pervasive but outrageous acts."

Approximately 5.5 million of South Africa's 47 million people are believed to be HIV-positive.

Back to other news for May 2007

Adapted from:
Agence France Presse
05.10.2007; Mariette le Roux

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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