Rape is one of the worst and most heinous forms of assault that can be afflicted on a human by another. It is abhorred by all societies and cultures. Yet rapes keep on happening with alarming frequency in the society across all countries and cultures. Although some countries and cultures are the worst offenders, there are enough reports and evidence that even the most developed countries are suffering from this criminal act which affects the dignity of an individual so adversely.
Another problem with rape as a crime is that it is not reported. It is estimated that only 12 percent or fewer cases are reported. There is a social stigma attached to rape, and the victims prefer to keep silent. The situation is worse in Islamic countries where the testimony of women has less value, and the women are often accused of being the cause of rape. Moreover, the criminal justice system in such countries is so weak and faulty that it is difficult to get a rapist punished for his crime. It is only in developed countries that women dare to report rapes. This is perhaps one of the reasons that more developed countries are also on the list of countries where highest numbers of rapes take place.
Many countries also have different definitions of what constitutes rape. Also, in some countries, marital rapes are considered a crime. These are few of the reasons why one finds a lot of apparent disparities in the statistics of rape pertaining to different countries. Here is a list of 11 countries that rank highest in cases of rapes in 2020. The ranking is based on the incidence of rapes per 100,000 of the population, which is a better indicator rather than only the aggregate number of rape cases reported.
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11. United States of America
The rape statistics of USA are very deplorable for the topmost and powerful country in the world. The figures per 100,000 populations were more than 30 rapes. However, this figure has now decreased in recent years to 27.4 per 100,000. A 1997 study by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 91% of reported rape victims are female and 9% are male. US laws define rape as forced penetration by the offender. A 2011 report on prison rape by the Bureau of Justice states that in 2008 there were at least 69,800 inmates who were raped by use or threat of force and more than 216,600 total victims of sexual abuse in American prisons and juvenile detention centers. This is despite the fact that the majority of rapes in the United States go unreported.
According to the American Medical Association, sexual violence and rape are the most under-reported violent crime. There is no agreement on the data, as the FBI recorded 85,593 rapes in 2010, while the Centers for Disease Control counted nearly 1.3 million incidents. Some types of rape are excluded from official reports. For example, the FBI’s definition excludes all rapes except forcible rapes of females. Large numbers of rapes are unreported, and only 16% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police. Moreover, only 25% of reported rapes result in arrest. Nearly 80,000 American children are sexually abused each year. But unreported cases are higher.
According to one report from United States Department of Justice, there were overall 191,670 victims of rape or sexual assault reported in 2005. According to RAINN from 2000 to 2005, 59% of rapes were not reported to law enforcement. This figure for college students was 95% in 2000. Every 107 seconds, one person in the United States is sexually assaulted. Every year there are about 293,000 victims of sexual assault. 68% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police. 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.
According to the data by UNDOC, in 2008, the incidence of rapes reported to the police amounted to 26.3 per 100,000 people. The incidences have been on the rise since the years. The last reports put the figures at 27.9 rape cases per 100,000 of the population.
Rape in Belgium is defined by Article 375 of the Penal Code according to which it is any act of sexual penetration, of whatever sort and by whatever means, committed on a non-consenting person. This definition includes marital rapes. There are several factors that may have caused this. One potent factor is the inflow of culturally divergent Muslim migrants from other countries who have been given political asylum. Maximum cases of rapes by strangers are attributed to these.
Panama is an independent country on the isthmus linking Central and South America. The Panama Canal, which is a famous feat of human engineering, cuts through its center. The canal links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to create an essential shipping route. The capital, Panama City has modern skyscrapers, casinos and nightclubs. Panama has a population exceeding 4 million and a heterogeneous culture. Panama by and large is a peaceful country with low crime rates. However, it is a major concern with the authorities that the country suffers from a high rate of criminal assaults on women. On an average it has had more than 25 rapes per 100,000 of population per year. The last recorded figures were 28.3 per 100,000.
8. Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis is a small nation, comprising two small islands in the Caribbean. The economy of this island nation which earlier was due to sugar production is now totally dependent on tourism. It has 14 or 15 incidences of rapes in a year. These are small numbers, but considering the fact that the population of the island is around only 50,000, the figures translate into 28,6 per 100,000 of population which makes it alarming.
The rape laws in Australia have evolved from the English common law, but have gradually evolved in the late 20th century. In Australia, the reported rape rate per 100,000 people is relatively high. However, this is coming down from the earlier high figure of 91.6 in 2003 to 28.6 in 2010. Yet it has been estimated that only about 15 to 20 percent of cases get reported to the Police. Moreover, non-sexual intrusion and sexual assault are also included in the rape definition as per Australian laws.
Grenada is an island country located at the southern end of Southeastern Caribbean Sea. Its neighbors are the countries of Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, and Saint Vincent. It is also known as the Island of Spice and is the largest exporter of nutmeg, mace and other spices in the world.
However, despite the fact that rape criminals can be convicted up to 15 years of imprisonment, crimes against women have been a concern. The rape incidents per 100,000 of population is very high at 30.6, but it has decreased from the earlier 54.8 rapes per 100,000 of population.
Nicaragua enacted in 2012, a law called Integral Law against Violence against Women, which criminalizes a wide range of acts of violence against women, including domestic violence and marital rape. Nicaragua, the largest country in the Central American isthmus, is home to the multi-ethnic population such as Europeans, Africans, Asians, and indigenous peoples. Nicaragua is considered the safest country in Central America and Latin America with the low homicide rate of 8.7 per 100,000 inhabitants. But this country ranks high in case of criminal assaults against women.
Nicaragua has 32 rapes per 100,000 of the population. According to Amnesty International’s 2010 report, the rape of girls is endemic. Between 1998 and 2008, police recorded 14,377 cases of rape. This is despite the fact that reporting is low because rape victims often face social hostility and indifference from authorities. Since 2008, abortion has been made totally illegal. This has been criticised as oppressive to rape victims who become pregnant.
Sweden is a surprising entry in this list. This is considering the fact that it is one of the developed countries of the world, with women liberalization as a top agenda in its social development. However, the fact that it has about 64 cases of sexual assault per 100.000 population belies the fact that is a developed country. This is from the reports of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). According to this in 2012, Sweden had 66 cases of reported rapes per 100,000 population, as per the data are given by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. This was the biggest number reported to the UNODC in 2012.
However, it must be noted that many countries do not report any rape statistics to the UNODC, and some report deficient numbers. The Swedish police record each instance of sexual violence in every case separately and also has a comparatively wide definition of rape. Moreover, a greater willingness among Swedish women to report rape in relationships also explains the relatively high rates of reported rape in Sweden. Also, the recent influx of refugees and immigrants from Muslim countries where the status of women is low may have contributed to these cases. In Sweden, 1 out of 3 Swedish women have been sexually assaulted by the time they leave their teens. During the first half of 2013 more than 1,000 Swedish women reported being raped by Muslim immigrants in the Stockholm, and over 300 of those were under the age of 15.
Rape continues to be one of Lesotho’s main social issues. In 2008, according to UNODC, rapes recorded by the police was the highest incidence of any country. The number of rape incidences ranges from 82 to 88 per 100,000 of the population. It is one of the poorest countries with almost half the population living below the poverty line. Cases of crimes involving kidnapping, murder, human trafficking, assault, theft, etc. abound along with sexual assaults.
After South Africa, Botswana has the highest incidence of rapes at 93 per 100,000 of the population. Also, these cases are mostly unreported so that the actual incidence may be more than three to five times. This country also has one of the highest incidences of AIDS, and they keep propagating AIDS by such heinous acts. The illiterate, almost barbarian population also believes in the myth that sex with a virgin will cure AIDS, which is a major cause of rapes with children. It is a landlocked country in southern Africa, bounded by South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. This developing country with a population of 2.5 million is riddled with severe crimes ranging from theft to armed assaults for money.
1. South Africa
In a March 2012 study, it was found that South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world. With 65,000 rapes and other sexual assaults reported, it comes to 127.6 per 100,000 people in the country. Sexual attacks are common in South Africa. The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 bans rapes and sexual abuse. More than 70,000 cases are reported which includes the sexual attack on children. A very high proportion of rape cases are not reported. It is claimed by IRIN, a humanitarian news organization, that an estimated 500,000 rapes are committed annually in South Africa. According to many, in South Africa, rape is so common it barely makes the news. Most sexual assaults get no public attention.
A multicultural society, South Africa is considered one of progressed and developed country. Yet the graph of sexual assault does not come down. The country has recently attained freedom from apartheid and racial discrimination. 90% of the population did not have equal rights earlier. A myth that sex with a virgin cures AIDS also contributes to the high incidence of rapes with children.
Rapes are the most obnoxious of all crimes. The sad part is that it is so prevalent among all societies. Even the developed countries with higher level of education are not immune to this evil. Forcing oneself on an unwilling victim is like imposing slavery on the other. The emotional scars do not heal easily, and in cases of young victims, the effects may last lifelong. Apart from the punitive measures the government and society should work on prevention of rapes. This can be achieved through proper education and guidance of the young so that the humanity can hope for a generation that does not have such crimes in the human society.