A contradiction in terms? The promotion of adolescent sexual rights and the prevention of sexual violence

Author Salona Lutchman

ISSN: 1996-2088
Affiliations: LLB (UKZN) LLM (New York) PhD Candidate (UCT); Senior Lecturer, Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town; Attorney and Notary of the High Court of South Africa.
Source: Acta Juridica, 2020, p. 63 – 86


This article is a contribution to the ongoing national discourse on adolescent sexuality. By juxtaposing adolescent sexuality with the high levels of adolescent sexual violence, the article seeks to highlight the tensions and challenges embedded in the current protectionist narrative. The article argues that adolescent sexual violence has a gendered dimension, with girls being the dominant victims and boys the dominant perpetrators. However, in order to understand adolescent sexual violence, one has to first understand the missing discourse, which is adolescent sexuality. It is argued that constructive approaches geared towards curbing adolescent sexual violence should deal with the inherent gender inequality embedded in adolescent sexual agency and violence.