Attitudes, Rape and Law Reform in South Africa


In the last decade South Africa has undergone an extensive process of sexual offence law reform. This process has attempted, amongst other things, to address deficiencies in the criminal justice response to rape and has also recognised some of the limits to the impact of legal reform. These limits are partly defined by rape supportive attitudes and myths that appear to influence decision-making at all points in the criminal justice process. In South Africa, and many other jurisdictions, evidence suggests that police, prosecutorial and judicial decision-making is influenced, in part, by a range of social attitudes that misconstrue sexual violence, as well as serve to undermine the credibility of complainants. This article examines the impact of myths, social definitions of rape on rape law reform in South Africa and the points at which these reforms are likely to be undermined by social attitudes and what potentially might be done to address this problem.

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@inproceedings{Bijl2009AttitudesRA, title={Attitudes, Rape and Law Reform in South Africa}, author={Charnelle van der Bijl and Philip N. S. Rumney}, year={2009} }