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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Rape in the courts of Gusiiland, Kenya, 1940s-1960s
Author:Shadle, Brett L.
Year:2008
Periodical:African Studies Review
Volume:51
Issue:2
Pages:27-50
Language:English
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:Gusii
customary courts
sexual offences
1940-1949
1950-1959
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/african_studies_review/v051/51.2.shadle.pdf
Abstract:This article examines the history of rape prosecutions in the African courts ('ritongo') of Gusiiland, Kenya, from the 1940s through the first years of independence. Drawing on transcripts from African courts, it demonstrates that Gusii court elders were quite sympathetic to women who lodged rape claims. Elders handed down stiff punishments to rapists, were willing to entertain a wide definition of 'indecent assault', and did not require the extensive evidence of rape so commonly demanded by judges in Western courts (and in British courts in Kenya). Perhaps most surprisingly, men who admitted to having had sex but claimed it had been consensual were forced to prove their claims. This article advances both the historical study of rape in Africa and suggests that we reassess or at least reserve judgment on the nature of sexual violence in the non-West. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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