Women’s Legal Centre outlines challenges faced by women when tackling rape cases

Women’s Legal Centre outlines challenges faced by women when tackling rape cases

The Women’s Legal Centre has outlined the challenges that some women face with the legal system when tackling cases of rape.

It follows the Western Cape High Court’s decision this week to overturn a harassment order obtained by a man against his former girlfriend, who accused him of raping her during a strained period of their relationship.

The court says there were no legal grounds for the order to have been granted by the magistrate in November 2020.

The order, at the time, effectively gagged the woman from revealing information to anyone about the alleged incident.

In her recent appeal, she claimed that the order went against the country’s fight against gender-based violence.

Emotional and psychological trauma

Attorney at the Women’s Legal Centre, Chriscy Blouws says the traumatic experience faced by rape victims also makes it difficult for them to go through the process when reporting the crime.

“The context of the emotional and psychological trauma that comes with rape, women often then don’t want to go through the criminal process where you relive that trauma. Stats show us the low rate of conviction in South Africa,” says Blouws.

“So these were some of the reasons that our client at the time felt like she was not willing to go through but all of that was negatively drawn against her through the magistrates court and used against her. Essentially what the magistrate said was that you had not reported him, he had not been convicted of rape and so I am gagging you because the order said she was not allowed to talk in any manner to anyone,” says Blouws.

Police Minister Bheki Cele presents the latest crime statistics:


Last year Police Minister Bheki Cele said it is a disgrace and deeply disturbing that almost 10 000 people were brutalised by crime in a space of three months.

Cele was reacting to statistics that show an increase of 4.7% in sexual offences cases.

»Women’s Legal Centre outlines challenges faced by women when tackling rape cases«

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