WOMEN’S EXPERIENCES OF REPORTING RAPE TO THE POLICE: A QUALITATIVE STUDY
AbstractSouth Africa has the highest incidence of rape in the world among the countries that reportreliable crime statistics (Snyman, 2005). Between April 2006 and March 2007, 52 617 rapeswere reported to the police in South Africa (“Information management, South African PoliceServices”, n.d.). A national crime survey conducted by Statistics South Africa (SSA) found thatone out of two rape survivors reported the matter to the police (SSA, 2000), while a threeprovincesurvey by the Medical Research Council on violence against women found that onlyone in nine victims reported their rape experience (Jewkes, Penn-Kekana, Levin, Ratsaka &Schrieber, 2001).
ARTZ, L. 1999. Access to justice for rural women: special focus on violence against
women. Cape Town: University of Cape Town, Institute of Criminology.
BESDZIEK, D. 1999. Options for city police services. Available: http://www.
issafrica.org/Pubs/PAPERS/4/Paper4.html. [Retrieved: 29/01/2007].
BOONZAIER, F. 2003. Women abuse: a critical review. In: RATELE, K. & DUNCAN, N.
(eds) Social psychology: identities and relationships. Cape Town: University of Cape Town
BREMS, C. & WAGNER, P. 1994. Blame of victim and perpetrator in rape versus theft.
Journal of Social Psychology, 134(3):363-374.
BURGESS, A. & HOLMSTROM, L. 1978. The victim of rape: institutional reactions. New
BURT, M.R. 1980. Cultural myths and supports for rape. Journal of Personality and Social
BURT, M., & ALBIN, R.S. 2006. Rape myths, rape definitions, and probability of conviction.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 11:212-230.
CHIRORO, P., BOHNER, G., TENDAYI VIKI, G. & JARVIS, C.I. 2004. Rape myth
acceptance and rape proclivity. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19(4):427-442.
CHRISTOFIDES, N., WEBSTER, N., JEWKES, R., PENN-KEKANA, L., MARTIN, L.
ABRAHAMS, N. & KIM, J. 2003. The state of sexual assault services: findings from a
situation analysis of services in South Africa. Technical report published by the South
African Gender-based Violence and Health Initiative. Medical Research Council. Pretoria.
COOMBS, A.J. 1987. An evaluation of the changing perceptions and treatment of rape
victims by the police. Brunel: Socio-legal Working Papers.
COMBRINCK, H. & SKEPU, Z. 2003. Bail in sexual assault cases: victim’s experiences.
(No. 2). Cape Town: Gender Project, Community Law Centre.
GARTNER, R. & MACMILLAN, R. 1995. The effect of the victim-offender relationship on
reporting crimes of violence against women. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 37:393-429.
GAVEY, N. 2005. Just sex? The cultural scaffolding of rape. London: Routledge.
HERMAN, J.L 1992. Trauma and recovery. New York: Basic Books.
INFORMATION MANAGEMENT- SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICES. (n.d.).
stats.htm. [Retrieved: 26/02/2006].
JEWKES, R. & ABRAHAMS, N. 2002. The epidemiology of rape and sexual coersion in
South Africa: an overview. Social Science and Medicine, 55(7):1231-1244.
JEWKES, R., PENN-KEKANA, L., LEVIN, J., RATSAKA, M. & SCHRIEBER, M. 2001.
Prevalence of emotional, physical and sexual abuse of women in 3 South African provinces.
South African Medical Journal, 91(5):421-428.
JORDAN, J. 2001. Worlds Apart? Women, rape and the police reporting process. British
Journal of Criminology, 41(4):679-706.
JORDAN, J. 2002. Will any women do? Police, gender and rape victims. Policing, 25(2):319-
KIGUWA, P. 2004. Feminist critical psychology in South Africa. In: HOOK, D. Critical
psychology. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press.
KOSS, M.P. & HARVEY, M.R. 1991. The rape victim: clinical and community
interventions (2nd ed). California: Sage Publications.
KOSS, M.P., HEISE, L. & RUSSO, N.F. 1994. The global health burden of rape. Psychology
of Women Quarterly, 18:509-537.
LIRA, L.R., KOSS, M. & RUSSO, N.F. 1999. Mexican American women’s definitions of rape
and sexual abuse. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 21(3):235-236.
MADIGAN, L. & GAMBLE, N.C. 1991. The second rape: society’s continual betrayal of
the victim. New York: Lexington Books.
PIDGEON, N. & HENWOOD, K. 1997. Using grounded theory in psychological research. In:
HAYES, N. (ed) Doing qualitative analysis in psychology. Hove, UK: Psychology Press:
PIENAAR, J. & ROTHMANN, S. 2005. Suicide ideation in the South African Police Service.
South African Journal of Psychology, 35(1):58-72.
PINO, N.W. & MEIER, R.F. 1999. Gender differences in reporting rape. Sex Roles,
PRETORIUS, Z. & LOUW, B. 2005. Women and men as vulnerable victims. In: DAVIS, L. &
SNYMAN, R. (eds) Victimology in South Africa. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.
RASOOL, S., VERMAAK, K., PHAROAH, R., LOUW, A. & STAVROU, A. 2003. Violence
against women: a national survey. Pretoria: Institute for Security Studies.
SMYTHE, D. 2004. The problem of attrition in rape cases. In: KARTH, V. (ed) News and
views for magistrates. Cape Town: The Law, Race and Gender Research Unit.
SNYMAN, R. 2005. Overview of and concepts of victimology. In: DAVIS, L. & SNYMAN,
R. (eds) Victimology in South Africa. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.
STANTON, S., LOCHRENBERG, M. & MUKASA, V. 1997. Improved justice for survivors
of sexual violence? Adult experiences of the Wynberg Sexual Offences Court and
associated services. Rape Crisis: Cape Town; African Gender Institute: University of Cape
Town; Human Rights Commission.
STATISTICS SOUTH AFRICA. 2000. Victims of crime survey. Pretoria: Statistics South
STEPHANUS, F. 2006. The relationship between sex role orientation and rape victims
blame among police officers in the Cape Peninsula. University of the Western Cape:
Department of Psychology. (Unpublished minor dissertation for the MA Degree (Psychology))
STRAUSS, A. & CORBIN, J. 1990. Basics of qualitative research: grounded theory
procedures and techniques. London: Sage Publications.
SWANSON, J.M. 1986. Analyzing data for categories and description. In: CHEWITZ, W.C. &
SWANSON, J.M. (eds) From practice to grounded theory: qualitative research in nursing
Menlo Park, CA: Addison Wesley: 121-132.
TEMKIN, J. 1997. Plus CA change: reporting rape in the 1990’s. The British Journal of
TEMKIN, J. 1999. Reporting rape in London: a qualitative study. The Howard Journal,
THOMPSON, M. 2000. Life after rape: a chance to speak? Sexual and Relationship Therapy,
VETTON, L. 1999. Influence of gender on research: a critique of two victim surveys.
Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation. Available: http://www.crvr.org.
za/articles/artec1.htm. [Retrieved: 15/11/2006].
WALKLATE, S. 1995. Gender and crime. London: Willan Publishing.
WARD, C.A. 1995. Attitudes towards rape: feminist and social psychological perspectives.
London: Sage Publications.
WESTHEIMER, R.K. & LOPATER, S. 2005. Human sexuality: a psychosocial perspective.
Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
WILLIAMS, L.S. 1984. The classic rape: when do victims report? Social Problems,
This journal is an open access journal, and the authors and journal should be properly acknowledged when works are cited.
Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk hold copyright.
Auhtors may use the publishers version for teaching purposes, in books, and with conferences.
The following license applies:
Attribution CC BY-4.0
This license lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation.
Articles as a whole may not be re-published with another journal.