Communicating masculinity: attitudes of adolescent males in rural South Africa to rape and gender relations
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Rape is a national crisis in South Africa. The high prevalence of rape is evidenced by reports that a woman is raped every four minutes. Various studies have explored attitudes of adolescents to rape; however, they tend to focus on urban, township and college youth with the attitudes of rural boys almost neglected. Drawing on the socialisation theory, it is assumed that the way a boy is socialised through communicative practices at home, school, among the peer group, and in society at large impacts on his attitudes to gender and rape. Through focus group interviews with adolescent boys in Duthuni village in the Limpopo province of South Africa, this study confirms that cultural communicative practices about gender, such as interpersonal communication in family, shape the socialisation of these boys, which influence the acceptance of gender roles displayed in the social construction of masculinity and femininity. This consequently influences their perceptions of rape, and the social efforts to combat rape.