This article examines the nature of social attitudes toward adult rape in South Africa and the ways in which they may influence the response of criminal justice professionals to cases of rape. Tis article draws on a small study of law students who completed a questionnaire that sought to examine specific beliefs regarding rape victims and their behavior during and following rape. Te questionnaire examines issues that do not appear to have been explored within attitude surveys thus far in South Africa. Te findings from this survey, along with the wider research literature on attitudes toward rape, suggest that rape myths and stereotypes are widespread in South African society and that they are also shared by some criminal justice professionals. Te article also notes some encouraging trends in South Africa. In particular, the judiciary has shown clear disapproval of the institutional failure to protect victims of rape and sexual assault. Te judiciary has also explicitly rejected myths pertaining to the behavior of rape victims, which will be discussed in this article. Although these trends are encouraging, there remains a clear need to address the problem of rape myths and stereotypes both in the general population and within the criminal justice system.
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