The danger from rape and sexual assault is compounded because of the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in South African townships.

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Another group's survey estimates that one in five adult males become victims of sexual offences, and this figure could be much higher as a male is 10 times less likely to report a sexual violation than a woman.

Nearly half of all South African inmates surveyed by the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services reported that sexual abuse happens “sometimes”, “often” or “very often”.

Although there are varying numbers on the number of reported rapes of children, one report states that in 2000, 21,538 rapes and attempted rapes of children under the age of 18 were reported and another from 2001 states that there were 24,892 rapes.

Child welfare groups believe that the number of unreported incidents could be up to 10 times that number.

The Medical Research Council states, "Many forms of sexual violence, particularly sexual harassment and forms of sexual coercion that do not involve physical force are widely viewed as normal male behaviour." Market Research Africa, a Johannesburg-based market research agency, reported in 1994 that 76% of men felt that women had a right to say no to sex, one third thought that women could not decide for themselves on abortion, and 10% condoned a man beating a woman or his wife.

Among children, a 2007 survey by CIET found 60% of both boys and girls, aged 10 to 19 years old, thought it was not violent 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.

The South African government reports that one of these reasons is the culture of patriarchy in South Africa.

Its report states that patriarchy is firmly rooted in Black culture and fighting it is seen as attempting to destroy South African tradition or South African ideals.

Sexual violence in prisons is linked to gang violence and its power structures, and inmates who are sexually abused are targets for repeated abuse, and usually are victimized again and again.

Survivors of prison rape have told that officials in the country are of the opinion that "[males should] expect this treatment in prison".

The South African Crime Survey 2003 highlights the regional differences of citizens' perceptions and fears.