South Africa is currently battling an epidemic of an unusual but very violent and destructive nature which the government has tried hard in the past not to address.This is the “corrective rape” trendwhere a man (or commonly a group) rapes a lesbian with the aim of turning her straight. This, in South Africa, which is regarded as one of the most gay-friendly countries in Africa and the one with the most protective laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The government in 2008 made a statement that “While hate crimes – especially of a sexual nature – are rife, it is not something that the South African government has prioritised as a specific project.”. In 2011, a spokesman from the Ministry of Justice said “We accept that there is room for improvement, but that does not mean that the situation has gotten out of hand.”
According to the Change.org petition page:
- 31 lesbian women have been murdered because of their sexuality (including a footballer who was gang-raped, beaten and stabbed over 20 times)
- More than 10 lesbians a week are raped or gang raped in Cape Town alone (sometimes girls as young as 13)
- 150 women are raped every day in South Africa
- For every 25 men accused of rape in South Africa, 24 walk free
A 2011 report estimates that a woman in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how read. As of 1999, 1 in 3 of 4,000 women questioned during a survey has been raped in her lifetime.
All these figures are still subject to under-reporting.
I wonder if this is “out of hand” enough for the Ministry of Justice.
Even more alarming is the role other women play in perpetuating such a violent and destructive act. According to the article “Corrective Rape Makes You An African Woman” a rape survivor said “I was raped because I was a butch child. I was 13 years old the first time it happened. My Mother walked into the room soon afterward and said to me “this is what happens to girls like you.” It did not occur to me what she meant but looking back now that’s not the kind of thing you expect from a mother.”
Pic from: Ms.blog Magazine