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The state and the phallus: intersections of patriarchy and prejudice in the Jacob Zuma rape trial.

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The intention of this dissertation is to expose the gendered experiences of rape victims, based on the notion that while it should be the purpose of rape laws to protect victims of rape, in many circumstances the legal process results in disempowering experiences for victims, particularly women. Therefore, I suggest that the courtroom, a supposedly just space, is one which is laced with patriarchal undercurrents that work specifically against women. Rape is a complex and multi-faceted subject that is fast becoming an epidemic. In relation to HIV/AIDS and sexuality, the issue of rape certainly becomes compounded. Deconstructing the historical and cultural experiences of women is not only necessary in attempting to understand rape, but also the reasons why the justice system, which is dominantly a male domain, may still cling to patriarchal principles. One reason for the marginalization of rape victims may be the continued regard of women as second class citizens. The rape trial, in which Jacob Zuma was the alleged rapist, is a starting point, and by referring to this case, I intend to reveal and discuss weaknesses with regard to rape law within the South African context.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2009.


Zuma, Jacob--Trials, litigation, etc., Trials (Rape)--South Africa., Rape victims--South Africa., Theses--Gender studies.