Definition of rape to be wider

Deputy Minister of Justice, Johnny De Lange, told the Parliamentary justice committee that the Sexual Offences Bill will, if passed into law, mean that other sexual offences will be classified as rape.  According to Business Day:

With a new broader definition of rape, men will for the first time be able to lay a charge for being raped. Also forcing people to have sex, having sex as a result of abuse of authority and sex under false pretences will constitute rape. The entire issue of rape and how the accused person and the alleged victim are handled in court were dramatically illustrated in the recent trial of former deputy president Jacob Zuma.

Rape is also further defined as being a sexual situation in which penetration takes place and this means of the sexual organs, the anus or the mouth.

These provisions mean that for the first time in South African law, if approved in its present form, men will be capable of being raped. It will also be considered to be rape if a person is forced to give oral sex.

Pretending to be someone else in order to have sex, perhaps in the dark, will also be classified as rape, De Lange said. This would also apply to having sex with someone who was unconscious, mentally disabled or a child under 12 years of age. He stressed that by law a child under the age of 12 could not consent to sex.

As you can see, the proposed legislation will encompass a range of behaviour in the definition of rape and, to a large extent, address the inequities and inadequacies of the current definition of rape.

The Bill also addresses the problematic “cautionary rule” (in terms of which a judge is to treat evidence of the complainant with greater circumspection) and makes provision for the creation of a sexual offenders register in an effort to restrict access to children by registered sexual offenders.

There are a number of other perspectives on the Sexual Offences Bill here.

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