n South African Journal on Human Rights - The rhetoric of rape : an extended note on apologism, depoliticisation and the male gaze in

Volume 30, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-7203



In this extended note, I provide a critical reading of the recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment in against contemporary feminist theories of rape and specifically, feminist engagements with the concepts of 'consent' and 'force'. This reading aims to explore, analyse and expose the 'rhetoric' or discourse of rape employed in the judgment. In other words, it aims to question what rape mythology and normative theory of sex and gender relations was at work in the judge's decision to of life imprisonment that the appellant had originally received after being found guilty of raping his 15-year-old stepdaughter? What was the broader gender-cultural source of the implicit assumptions that generated the factors the judge identified as constituting the substantial and compelling circumstances that warranted such a reduction?

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