William & Mary Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice


Waruguru Gaitho


Corrective rape can be defined as a hate crime that entails the rape of any member of a group that does not conform to gender or sexual orientation norms, where the motive of the perpetrator is to “correct” the individual, fundamentally combining gender-based violence and homophobic violence. In the South African context, these biases intersect with systemic racism, producing a disproportionate impact on Black, queer, womxn. While the legal framework has evolved to better address sexual violence crimes, Black lesbians remain prone to falling through the legal cracks, and South African society continues to sanction the homophobia and misogyny that form the bulwark of continued unchecked violence against them. This Article utilizes a socio-legal approach to analyze both law and society in an effort to elucidate the complex interplay between both, in addressing—or failing to address thereof—corrective rape. The analysis shows the inherent need to employ a multifaceted approach that gives equal weight to societal transformation as it does legal protection, and further demonstrates the utility of looking to, and borrowing from, the field of public health to successfully engineer social change.