War on women or crime under control? The two stories of South Africa’s rape stats.

Statisticsis a hugely contested area, seldom more so than in the areas of rape and sexual abuse.

Lisa Vetten asks the following questions on the Africa Check website: Does South Africa have the highest rape numbers in the world, or is sexual violence on the decline? Do we instead need to ask fresh questions about rape statistics? (Africa Check is a non-profit organisation which promotes accuracy in public debate.)

She highlights "two narratives about rape, utterly opposed to each other, currently circulate in South Africa."

"The first, expressed most recently in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speeches, paints a picture of a country at war with its women, with the highest rape numbers in the world. The second, shown in police statistics, tells the story of an epidemic of sexual violence brought steadily under control."

"Both these versions of the present are alive with the ghosts of politics past."

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