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
COVID-19 death toll rises to 18 in SA, cases at 1,845

COVID-19 death toll rises to 18 in SA, cases at 1,845

In a statement released on Wednesday night, the minister said the cases had gone up to 1,845.

Lockdown: Companies with good service on social media - and those without

Lockdown: Companies with good service on social media - and those without

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler investigates which companies are meeting their customers’ needs on social media.

How to support outdoor entertainment indoors

How to support outdoor entertainment indoors

Theatres across the world have gone dark, but you can still support and watch the arts while at home

How did a single Netcare hospital become the epicentre of Covid-19 in KZN?

How did a single Netcare hospital become the epicentre of Covid-19 in KZN?

Bruce Whitfield interviews Richard Friedland, CEO at Netcare – owner of the hospital at the epicentre of KZN’s Covid-19 outbreak.

Expect no price hikes or shortages (except rice, pasta) from us - Tiger Brands

Expect no price hikes or shortages (except rice, pasta) from us - Tiger Brands

Tiger Brands CEO Noel Doyle assures South Africans that there are sufficient supplies of most of the company's products.

Dis-Chem launches drive-through COVID-19 testing sites

Dis-Chem launches drive-through COVID-19 testing sites

The company says the tests will cost R850 each and it may take 24 to 48 hours to get your results back.

#COVID-19: Old Mutual offers 4bn worth of free life cover to health workers

#COVID-19: Old Mutual offers 4bn worth of free life cover to health workers

The company is making it available to approximately 430,000 registered healthcare workers on the front-line of the pandemic.

Lockdown shelters in Tshwane helping reunite the homeless with their families

Lockdown shelters in Tshwane helping reunite the homeless with their families

Joanne Joseph speaks to City of Tshwane administrator spokesperson Omogolo Taunyane- Mnguni to find out more.

Only fruit and veg, fresh meat, grocery, spaza shop permits to be issued - Cogta

Only fruit and veg, fresh meat, grocery, spaza shop permits to be issued - Cogta

Deputy Minister Obed Bapela says permits fro cooked food will not be issued as well as furniture shots.

Savanna Virtual Comedy Bar launches on Thursday, featuring comedic heavyweights

Savanna Virtual Comedy Bar launches on Thursday, featuring comedic heavyweights

Bruce Whitfield and comedian John Vlismas share a few Covid-19 jokes and discuss the launch of the virtual comedy club.