n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Sexual victimisation of female students at a South African tertiary institution : the victim's perception of the perpetrator

Special Edition 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



In this study, the nature and consequences of the sexual victimisation of female students at a South African tertiary institution were explored with specific reference to sexual harassment and rape. Ten research participants who met the requirements of the study were selected by means of purposive theoretical sampling. Two victims of sexual harassment and eight female students, who were subjected to rape on campus, participated in the study. To obtain in-depth qualitative information on the nature of the research participants' experiences, face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted. Based upon the interpretation of the data, it became evident that most of the sexual harassment and rape incidents occurred on campus between individuals who were acquainted with each other. Further analysis of the data showed that offender related risk factors (such as male peer support and the use of alcohol) contributed to sexual harassment and rape of the female students. Emanating from the feedback from the research participants, the profile of the perpetrators as well as their perceptions about these crimes were assessed together with the responses and reactions from the university management, security personnel, administrative staff as well as the South African Police Services in dealing with the perpetrators of these crimes. Recommendations regarding crime and victimisation risk reduction measures were formulated aimed at the perpetrator but also applicable to tertiary institutions to encourage management to dispel stereotypes surrounding sexual harassment and rape and to implement effective policies to protect female students as particularly vulnerable victims of campus violence.

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