Perpetuating Harm: The Sentencing of Rape Offenders Under South African Law

Authors Amanda Spies

ISSN: 1996-2177
Affiliations: Senior Lecturer, College of Law, University of South Africa
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 133 Issue 2, 2016, p. 389 – 408


Feminists have long viewed the criminal justice system — the system that women access to gain protection from or recourse against sexual violence — as the ultimate gendered institution, often reinforcing deeply sexist assumptions about women. The sentencing of rape offenders under current minimum-sentencing legislation has done little to change this perception, as judicial officers employ commonly held rape myths and stereotypes in their sentencing practice. This article explores the sentencing of rape offenders under the minimum-sentencing legislation and highlights the need for judicial sensitisation in adjudicating sexual violence matters.