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An epidemiology of sexual assault among elderly women in the Mthatha area of South Africa.
Med Sci Law. 2017 Apr; 57(2):69-74.MS

Abstract

Background South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world, but this barely seems to surprise anyone. It is extremely disturbing, especially when children and elderly women are raped. Women and children are usually the weakest group in society physically, as well as the most exposed to abuse and neglect. It should be the responsibility of a civil society to protect these vulnerable groups from harm. Objective This study investigated the trend of rapes among elderly women in the Mthatha area of South Africa. Method This was a retrospective descriptive study from the records of the Sinawe Centre. All cases of the rape of elderly women (i.e. those aged ≥65 years) between 2007 and 2011 were recorded. The Sinawe Centre is now a one-stop centre known as the Thuthuzela-Sinawe Centre, which is the only centre to deal with cases of rape in this area. Results A total 2579 adult victims of rape (i.e. those aged ≥16 years) were reported at the Sinawe Centre over a five-year period (2007-2011). Of these, 145 (5.6%) involved elderly women. The average rate of rape among elderly women was 20.7/10,000 adult women per year. There was an increase in elderly rape from 17.1/10,000 women in 2007 to 40/10,000 women in 2009. The highest percentage (45.5%) of women were aged between 65 and 70 years, and the lowest percentage (4.1%) were aged between 86 and 90 years. The highest number of cases (56; 38.6%) were reported in 2009 (p < .05; χ[2 ]= 45.2). In the majority of cases (122; 84.2%), there was a single perpetrator. There were two perpetrators in 14 (9.6%) cases, and three or more perpetrators were recorded in nine (6.2%) rapes. A little more than half (74; 51%) were known to the victims. In 117 (83%) cases, the rape took place in the home. Human immunodeficiency virus infection was found to be prevalent in five (3.6%) cases of elderly rape. Conclusion There are a high number of rapes among elderly women in the Mthatha area of South Africa. It is a matter of serious concern, and needs urgent attention.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Forensic Medicine, Walter Sisulu University, Mthatha, South Africa.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

28438100

Citation

Meel, Banwari L.. "An Epidemiology of Sexual Assault Among Elderly Women in the Mthatha Area of South Africa." Medicine, Science, and the Law, vol. 57, no. 2, 2017, pp. 69-74.
Meel BL. An epidemiology of sexual assault among elderly women in the Mthatha area of South Africa. Med Sci Law. 2017;57(2):69-74.
Meel, B. L. (2017). An epidemiology of sexual assault among elderly women in the Mthatha area of South Africa. Medicine, Science, and the Law, 57(2), 69-74. https://doi.org/10.1177/0025802416683610
Meel BL. An Epidemiology of Sexual Assault Among Elderly Women in the Mthatha Area of South Africa. Med Sci Law. 2017;57(2):69-74. PubMed PMID: 28438100.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - An epidemiology of sexual assault among elderly women in the Mthatha area of South Africa. A1 - Meel,Banwari L, Y1 - 2017/03/16/ PY - 2017/4/26/entrez PY - 2017/4/26/pubmed PY - 2018/7/24/medline KW - Elderly rape KW - perpetrators KW - sexual abuse KW - sexual assault SP - 69 EP - 74 JF - Medicine, science, and the law JO - Med Sci Law VL - 57 IS - 2 N2 - Background South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world, but this barely seems to surprise anyone. It is extremely disturbing, especially when children and elderly women are raped. Women and children are usually the weakest group in society physically, as well as the most exposed to abuse and neglect. It should be the responsibility of a civil society to protect these vulnerable groups from harm. Objective This study investigated the trend of rapes among elderly women in the Mthatha area of South Africa. Method This was a retrospective descriptive study from the records of the Sinawe Centre. All cases of the rape of elderly women (i.e. those aged ≥65 years) between 2007 and 2011 were recorded. The Sinawe Centre is now a one-stop centre known as the Thuthuzela-Sinawe Centre, which is the only centre to deal with cases of rape in this area. Results A total 2579 adult victims of rape (i.e. those aged ≥16 years) were reported at the Sinawe Centre over a five-year period (2007-2011). Of these, 145 (5.6%) involved elderly women. The average rate of rape among elderly women was 20.7/10,000 adult women per year. There was an increase in elderly rape from 17.1/10,000 women in 2007 to 40/10,000 women in 2009. The highest percentage (45.5%) of women were aged between 65 and 70 years, and the lowest percentage (4.1%) were aged between 86 and 90 years. The highest number of cases (56; 38.6%) were reported in 2009 (p < .05; χ[2 ]= 45.2). In the majority of cases (122; 84.2%), there was a single perpetrator. There were two perpetrators in 14 (9.6%) cases, and three or more perpetrators were recorded in nine (6.2%) rapes. A little more than half (74; 51%) were known to the victims. In 117 (83%) cases, the rape took place in the home. Human immunodeficiency virus infection was found to be prevalent in five (3.6%) cases of elderly rape. Conclusion There are a high number of rapes among elderly women in the Mthatha area of South Africa. It is a matter of serious concern, and needs urgent attention. SN - 2042-1818 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/28438100/An_epidemiology_of_sexual_assault_among_elderly_women_in_the_Mthatha_area_of_South_Africa_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -