This study provides an overview of available literature on the prevalence and incidence of rape in South Africa, the response of the criminal justice system to such crimes and the characteristics of those who commit rape. There are indeed various studies of rape in South Africa from which rape statistics may be extracted, but none of these studies were specifically designed to measure the prevalence and/or incidence of this crime. These studies, although approached from different perspectives and using diverse methods, come up with roughly similar patterns or trends as summarised below. Prevalence refers to how many cases there are, altogether, at a given point in time, for example, how many people there are in any country on the day of a population census. Incidence, on the other hand,refers to the number of cases over a specified time period, for example, the number of children per 100 000 of the population thatwere born in a given year.