Secondary victimisation in the court procedures of rape cases : an analysis of four court cases

Viljoen, Charmell S. (2003-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Violence against women is a serious offence. Emotional and physical abuse can happen to our daughters, sisters and wives. Rape is a form of violence against women. It violates a woman's privacy, dignity and it makes her feel as if she has lost control. The criminal justice system is there to protect the citizens of a country and this protection should extend to women when they have been violated. The criminal justice system has different structures, for example the courts, medical services and police services. The staff of the criminal justice process do not have an inherent duty to care about rape survivors but they can be trained to treat survivors with consideration and sympathy to counteract the effects of the rape and secondary victimization experienced by rape survivors. It is important that there are guidelines for the staff of the criminal justice system to assist them in rape cases. This thesis explores whether women experience secondary victimisation during court proceedings. To assess whether it occurs, court transcripts were analysed with a focus placed on the background of the court case and the verdicts of the judges. Findings indicate that secondary victimisation do occur during court cases. Rape survivors feel as if they are on trial and not the rapist. Survivors furthermore believe that they will have to live with the label that they had been raped and humiliated. The thesis recommends that officials of the criminal justice process should receive extensive training, and looks at the Sexual Offences Court in Wynberg as an example of an improved system for rape survivors. It is recommended that the procedures of the Sexual Offences Court should be evaluated on a regular basis to address secondary victimisation problems that may persist. Communication is very important during the rape trial. The rape survivor has to be informed about her case and about the location of the rapist at all times.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geweld teen vroue is 'n ernstige oortreding wat plaasvind in ons samelewing. Emosionele en fisiese geweld kan gebeur met ons dogters, vroue en susters. Hierdie vorm van geweld laat vroue voel asof hulle beheer verloor oor hulle lewens en dit het ook 'n impak op hul self respek en selfbeeld. Die Kriminele Sisteem van Suid Afrika is daar om die belange van sy inwoners te beskerm. Dit het verskillende afdelings byvoorbeeld, die mediese dienste, die polisie en die hof verrigtinge. Die lede van die Kriminele Sisteem werk met verskillende individue wat voel dat die hof die uitweg sal wees wat geregtigheid sal laat geskied. Die lede van die Kriminele Sisteem het nie 'n persoonlike verantwoordelikheid teenoor die verkragtings oorlewendes nie, maar hulle moet sensitiwiteit en empatie betoon teenoor die dames wat verkrag was. Die gedrag van die personeel speel 'n groot rol in terme van hoe die vrou wat verkrag was die aangeleentheid verwerk. Die fokus van die studie is om te kyk of vroue wel sekondêre viktimisering ervaar wanneer hulle besluit om voort te gaan met die hofsake. Hof transkripsies was gebruik om te kyk of vroue wel benadeel word. Daar was gekyk na die uitsprake van die regters sowel as die agtergrond van die hofsaak. Daar was bevind dat sekondêre viktimisering wel plaasvind gedurende die hof verrigtinge. Vroue voel asof hulle verantwoordelik is vir die verkragting wat met hulle gebeur het. Die verkragter word nie gesien as die persoon wat oortree het nie. Hierdie gevoelens van self blamering vorm deel van sekondêre viktimisering wat veroorsaak dat vroue sommige kere voel om nie verder te gaan met die hof saak nie. Die verskillende lede van die Kriminele Sisteem moet gedurig opleiding verkry wat hulle in staat sal stel om die gevoelens van die slagoffers in ag te neem. Die howe wat spesiaal opgerig is om verkragting sake te verhoor moet geevalueer word sodat dit 'n sukses kan wees. Kommunikasie moet bevorder word tussen die verskillende departemente en nie -regerings organisasies wat 'n rol speel gedurende die hof sake.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53584
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