Far-Reaching South African Sex Law Changes Recommended
January 23, 2003
On Tuesday, South Africa's Law Commission handed a series of far-reaching recommendations on sexual offenses to the government, including that not disclosing having HIV/AIDS before sex amounted to rape.Adapted from:
The commission comprises eight top judges, lawyers and academicians. It advises the government on legislative and legal matters, and it presented the draft bill to Justice Minister Penuell Maduna at a press conference in the capital.
The commission said in a statement, "Intentional non-disclosure by a person that he or she is infected by a life-threatening sexually transmissible infection ... prior to sexual relations with another [consenting] person would constitute rape." Joan van Niekerk, who led the commission's team that drafted the bill, said it also broadened the definition of rape so that men could be considered rape victims and that women could be convicted of rape.
"The commission recommends that the State will no longer have to prove lack of consent, but rather that penetration occurred under 'coercive circumstances,'" said van Niekerk. The draft legislation called for the explicit criminalization of and severe penalties for all people involved in the prostitution of children and mentally impaired people.
"This offence targets pimps, clients, brothel-keepers and all other role-players involved in commercial sexual exploitation of children," the commission's statement said. "The organization or promotion of child sex tours is specifically prohibited," it added.
According to police figures, children are the victims in 41 percent of all rapes and attempted rapes in the country, out of a total of 20,000 rapes officially reported each year. Fifteen percent of all rapes are committed against children under 11, but police only secure convictions in 9 percent of the cases.
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.