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Hamilton College

Publication Date

Fall 2019

Program Name

South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


This Independent Study Project (ISP) seeks to understand the work various Cape Town organizations are doing to help survivors of sexual assault gain access to justice. Previous research finds that social norms defining masculinity as well as rape myths and stereotypes lead to the high levels of gender-based violence (GBV) in South Africa. This research led to my hypothesis that organizations fighting GBV would target these norms to help survivors access the justice system that so frequently ignores them. Eight organizations were contacted requesting an interview to discuss their work and two agreed to participate. Participants were asked to discuss the goals, successes, and failures of their organizations work. Three additional organizations are included in this report using information from annual reports published on their websites. From the information gleaned from these interviews and annual reports, this ISP finds that while targeting social norms is an objective of some organizations, many directly support survivors in court and other post-trauma processes and still others research and analyze policy and legislation to determine how the law can be changed to support survivors. This report concludes that while progressive legislation is in place, there is still policy that must be changed for survivors to truly be able to access justice. Thus, organizations focus on law as well as social norms within communities to create real change for survivors. This report suggests future research investigating intersectional approaches to organization work to understand how they address the unequal realities of rape survivors.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Criminal Law | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Law and Society | Legal Studies | Sexuality and the Law | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Women's Studies


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