Why life sentences aren't the solution to SA's rape crisis

South Africa's criminal justice system needs to work harder in its fight against the scourge of rape in the country.

But the solution to this cannot be as simplistic as life sentences for rapists, says gender activist and researcher Lisa Vetten.

South African courts have handed a number of life sentences for rapists and child rapists in recent weeks.

As encouraging as that may be, the reality remains that the proportion of rapes being prosecuted in South Africa is staggeringly low.

According to Vetten, the average conviction rate for rape in the country is at 7%.

That's why, she says, the focus should be shifted away from harsher sentences towards more solid investigations and witness preparation to ensure court-ready cases.

RELATED: Police task team on SA femicide long overdue, says activist Lisa Vetten

Sentencing is the very last stage in the process... We need to be putting our energy into looking at how to improve police investigations, especially in stranger rape cases.

Lisa Vetten, Research associate - Wits Institute For Social Economic Research (Wiser)

[We need to put our energy into] how we get cases to court, how we get cour ready, how we prepare witnesses given the necessary support and how we get prosecutors to do the best they can to result in a conviction.

Lisa Vetten, Research associate - Wits Institute For Social Economic Research (Wiser)

It's the likelihood of being caught and convicted, rather than the small chance of a very long life sentence, that is going to act as a deterrent.

Lisa Vetten, Research associate - Wits Institute For Social Economic Research (Wiser)

Vetten explains that all rape cases should result in life sentences in the following instances:

  • if a child is raped
  • if a victim is raped multiple times
  • if multiple victims are raped
  • if the perpetrator is HIV +
  • if the victim is more than 60
  • if a weapon is used
  • if there is a gang rape

Listen to the in-depth discussion on the criminal justice system and gender-based violence:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Why life sentences aren't the solution to SA's rape crisis


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
Former media exec molested 'hundreds' of boys and young men - Deon Wiggett

Former media exec molested 'hundreds' of boys and young men - Deon Wiggett

The final episode of Deon Wiggett's podcast series 'My Only Story' has been published in collaboration with News24.

District Six land claimants to discuss govt's proposed restitution plan

District Six land claimants to discuss govt's proposed restitution plan

The District Six Reference Group will hold a meeting on Saturday to outline the proposals that the government has put on the table.

Is southern Africa drought drying up Victoria Falls?

Is southern Africa drought drying up Victoria Falls?

Harare-based BBC journalist Shingai Nyoka gives a first-hand account of the devastating effect of the drought on Zimbabwe.

'We're ready and able to deal with increased online payments on Black Friday'

'We're ready and able to deal with increased online payments on Black Friday'

PayFast MD Jonathan Smit says the spread of technologies available should help mitigate risk of compromising payment systems.

Son of slain Cradock Four activist implicates FW de Klerk in father’s murder

Son of slain Cradock Four activist implicates FW de Klerk in father’s murder

To this day, no one has been prosecuted for the brutal murders of Fort Calata, Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto and Sicelo Mhlauli.

Cannabis summit in Cape Town pushing dagga business deals

Cannabis summit in Cape Town pushing dagga business deals

Cape Town has hosted a three-day summit focusing on the booming global interest in medicinal cannabis and how Africa can benefit.

Popular articles
Student climate activist challenges Dept of Environmental Affairs

Student climate activist challenges Dept of Environmental Affairs

Raeesah Noor-Mahomed has joined schoolkids around the world by embarking on a Friday school boycott over climate inaction.

Meet the inspirational creative duo behind 'Tonic Design'

Meet the inspirational creative duo behind 'Tonic Design'

Greg Gamble and Philippe van der Merwe join Refiloe Mpakanyane in studio.

Fitness was a career that chose me - 'Queen Fitnass'

Fitness was a career that chose me - 'Queen Fitnass'

Mapule Ndhlovu opens up about her life journey and how exercise changed not only her body, but her mindset for the better.

EFF issues one-line apology to journos after court order

EFF issues one-line apology to journos after court order

Anton Harber and Thandeka Gqubule won their defamation case over Mbuyiseni Ndlozi's party statement implying links to Stratcom.

Ugandan climate activist accuses media of racism after Davos photo crop

Ugandan climate activist accuses media of racism after Davos photo crop

WEF youth climate delegate Vanessa Nakate was cropped out of a group pic with her white peers, also featuring Greta Thunberg.

Letting go of your child who's headed for university and independence

Letting go of your child who's headed for university and independence

Nikki Bush has valuable tips on preparing not only your school-leaver but yourself for the journey into adulthood ahead.

Right to Sight pleads for more donations to conduct cataract surgeries

Right to Sight pleads for more donations to conduct cataract surgeries

Right to Sight trustee Dr Matt Young says they get donations at the most time but now need big sponsors.

Remains of Cato Manor 9 returned on anniversary of their hanging

Remains of Cato Manor 9 returned on anniversary of their hanging

The Cato Manor 9 were hanged in 1961 by the apartheid after taking part in an uprising on 24 January 1960.

Zakes Bantwini opens up about his latest single 'Amanga'

Zakes Bantwini opens up about his latest single 'Amanga'

The musician says he never writes songs about his personal life but this latest single is too personal for him.

Unisa extends registration deadline in the wake of union protests

Unisa extends registration deadline in the wake of union protests

Unisa acting director of communications Lusani Netshitomboni says they encourage students to register online.