Victory

Appeal reduced sentence for child rape!

This petition made change with 861 supporters!


On 25 July 2014 the High Court in Pretoria reduced the life sentence of Molefe Joseph Mphanama to 20 years in prison. Mphanama raped an 11-year-old girl he regarded as “a daughter” several times, but his sentence was reduced because the court considered the girl to have been a "willing partner".

The court accepted that the young girl had been sexually groomed by Mphanama, but when it came to sentencing, acting Judge Mushasha stated that he was “concerned about the conduct” of the girl victim, which was considered a mitigating factor in favour of Mphanama. Examples of this conduct cited by the judge was that she opened the window for Mphanama to come into her room, and “only” showed her unwillingness to have sex by closing her thighs.

It is clear in SA law that no child below the age of 12 can ever consent to sex. The judge’s reasoning under-estimates the effects of sexual grooming on children, and perpetuates myths and stereotypes around sexual violence, including victim-blaming and the idea that some rapes are worse than others. This judgment shows how this kind of thinking infringes the rights of the girl child, and damages women and girls’ faith in the criminal justice system. Adults who prey sexually on children have no place in our society.

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