Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Ashley J. Moore

First Page



With the demise of apartheid, South Africans eagerly anticipated the freedom from bondage that liberation brings. More than ten years later, however, remnants of the inhumane system still remain throughout South Africa, with the epidemic rape crisis that currently grips the African nation providing dramatic evidence of the continued hold of apartheid. Scores of South Africa's women and young children must contend with the pervasive sexual violence that permeates the country. These would-be victims live in constant fear of physical attack, while advocates await the South African government's response to this national crisis. Unfortunately, legislation that would dramatically change South Africa's current sexual assault laws remains stalled before the South African Parliament almost a decade after its proposal. Further, South Africa's leadership has attempted to shift the focus from the rape epidemic to racism, leaving countless numbers of women and young girls to contend with almost daily violence. The Author argues that the rape crisis demands an immediate response from the South African Government and advocates for the swift passage of the Sexual Offences Bill. The Author recommends, however, that a number of modifications be made to the proposed bill in order to ensure the effectiveness of the legislation. These modifications include: (1) expansion of both the bill's definition of rape and the available defenses; (2) the creation of certain evidentiary rules; and (3) inscription of a written policy into the bill that gives sexual assault victims access to anti-retroviral drugs.