Repository logo

Rape as rooted in patriarchy: a philosophical perspective on rape in South Africa.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The main purpose of this paper is to establish the relationship between rape and patriarchy in the context of South Africa. Primarily, the paper argues that rape can be construed as a tool used to perpetuate patriarchal control. South Africa is recognised as a democratic state with a well-functioning judicial system; despite such a strong system, the prevalence of rape and gender-based violence suggests otherwise. In post-apartheid South Africa, women still grapple with serious security fears; they must think carefully about where they are going, with whom, at what time, and whether their garments have a potential to “provoke” a man. The primary question, ‘Why does rape persist in our society?’, is what this paper seeks to address by contending that it survives to keep patriarchy intact. The paper argues that patriarchy is connected to other systems of oppression, and sexualised violence is a deliberate tool they use to assert dominance over the subordinate groups. The argument that rape is a tool for patriarchy (the number of men raping women is overwhelmingly higher than that of women raping men; Stellings 1993) finds antecedents in the fact that rape and gender-based violence are systemic tools used to assert dominance or as a tool for control.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.