Title page for ETD etd-02182005-145343

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Schreiner, Jennifer Ann
URN etd-02182005-145343
Document Title Rape as a human security issue, with specific reference to South Africa
Degree M (Security Studies)
Department Political Sciences
Advisor Name Title
Prof M Hough
  • securitisation
  • rape
  • national security
  • intelligence
  • gender relations
  • human security
  • integrated governance
  • integrated justice system
  • social justice
  • social cohesion social crime prevention
Date 2004-03-10
Availability unrestricted
The dissertation aims to explore the impact of rape on human security and hence to drawn conclusions about rape as a national security concern in South Africa. The dissertation puts forward six propositions to be explored and tested:

· Forcible rape undermines human security.

· The extent of rape in South Africa constitutes a widespread threat to the personal safety of especially women and children.

· The constitutional commitment to gender equality, the empowerment of women, the rights of children and the right to security of the person are indicative of the severity with which South African society views rape.

· These factors combine to render rape a national security concern in South Africa during the past decade, requiring direct measures to be undertaken.

· This situation obliges a coordinated government strategic interpretation of the impact of rape on constitutional rights and stability, and evaluation of government policy in this regard.

· An integrated government strategy that entails close cooperation with civil society is required to enable the countering and reduction of rape and the ultimate construction of a rape-safe culture in South Africa.

The dissertation begins with a conceptual exploration of the concepts of rape, violence, gender violence, human and national security, and then provides an outline of how these concepts have been applied in the post-1994 South African context. Human security is identified as a core element of South African national security. Against the background of the conceptual definitions of terminology used in the dissertation, and the outline of the application of these concepts in South Africa, the extent and nature of rape is described and analysed. The dissertation avoids over-utilisation of statistics given that rape statistics are based to a large extent only on those cases that are reported to the police, and there is a range of factors that result in the under-reporting of rape.

The dissertation then describes and comments on the government’s response to rape in the period 2000-2003, outlining the inter-departmental strategies that have been initiated by Cabinet. Through this analysis, the seriousness with which government and parliamentary representatives have viewed rape has been indicated, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the governmental response to rape. This has enabled an indication of certain key aspects of governmental response that must be addressed if the security risk of rape is to be contained.

The dissertation concludes that the propositions are indeed supported by the both exploration of the South African policy on rape, human and national security, as well as the operational practice of the relevant government departments. The dissertation indicates a strong emphasis on the criminal justice prosecution of rape cases, and an imbalance in the social crime prevention dimension of government’s response to rape. It is argued that for a successful strategy to combat rape and to achieve a rape-safe culture in South Africa, an integrated governmental response, with a close social compact with civil society, balancing both improved efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice prosecution of rape cases, and social crime prevention that addresses the causes of rape, is required.

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