Mar 13, 2009

Lesbians in S. Africa subjected to 'corrective rape'

lesbian 'corrective' rape South Africa

A report from the international NGO ActionAid, says that horrific assaults against lesbians in South Africa are going unrecognized by the state and unpunished by the legal system. ActionAid backed by the South African Human Rights Commission has condemned what it describes as 'a culture of impunity'.

These crimes received greater attention when Eudy Simelane, a star of South Africa's national female football squad, was gang-raped and viciously beaten and stabbed. Her body was found in a creek in a park in Kwa Thema, on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

Eudy Simelane
Eudy Simelane #13

Campaigners say that the attacks are viewed by the perpetrators as "corrective rape". Research by Triangle, a leading S. African gay rights organization indicates that 86% of black lesbians from Western Cape live in fear of sexual assault. Triangle says it is dealing with up to 10 cases of "corrective rape" every week.

Carrie Shelver of the women's group Powa, a South African NGO, says that the root of the problem "is a macho culture that seeks to oppress women and sees them merely as sexual beings. So when there is a lesbian woman she is an absolute affront to this kind of masculinity".

For more on this story, link to the Guardian.

Also link to a Guardian video featuring interviews with victims of 'corrective rape'.