“CORRECTIVE RAPE” IN SOUTH AFRICA
In February 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison after 27 years incarceration by the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Four years later, Mandela became the first president of a multi-racial South Africa with a new constitution which guaranteed equality for all its citizens.
In 1999 Thabo Mbeki became president of South Africa and presided over one of the biggest health crises in South Africa’s history –the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Thanks to Mbeki and his health minister, both AIDS deniers, we have now, in 2011, nearly 1 in 5 South Africans who are HIV positive and many children have lost both parents and are themselves HIV positive.
This is South Africa’s future generation and this is the legacy they have inherited from Mbeki and his 10 years as South Africa’s president and his disastrous presidency.
If the current South African government does nothing about this “corrective rape” scourge damaging South Africa’s constitutional reputation, then its international reputation will suffer long-term damage and its human rights record will be set back for another generation at least while women remain not only second-class citizens but are cruelly punished for being who they are.
The items below are to point out to you that there are people around the world who are outraged at the inactivity of the South African government over this issue over at least the last year, and we await urgent action from the president and all members of the government to push legislation to punish the offenders and ensure that the law deals with them accordingly.
Mannie De Saxe, Lesbian and Gay Solidarity, Melbourne, Australia
PO Box 1675
End "Corrective" Rape of Lesbians in South Africa
• signatures: 35,669
• Target: South African President Kgalema Motlanthe
• Sponsored by: Care2
A new ActionAid report describes the shocking rise of "corrective" rape in South Africa - in which South African lesbians are being raped in an effort to "cure" them of their sexual orientation. Support groups in Cape Town say they see 10 new cases of "corrective" rape every week. And it's even more widespread around the rest of the country.
Many perpetrators of rape already go unpunished in South Africa, but the situation is even worse for lesbian women. Indeed, 31 lesbian women have been murdered in homophobic attacks since 1998, but in only one of these cases has there been a conviction.
Although South Africa's constitution recognizes rights of gay and lesbian people, its legal system does not view crimes committed against gay and lesbians on the basis of sexual orientation to be hate crimes. The South African legal system must recognize "corrective" rape as a hate crime in addition to a rape in order to establish a greater punishment for this brutal and widespread act of sexual violence. Urge South African President Kgalema Motlanthe to deem "corrective" rape a hate crime!
30 DECEMBER 2010
Spread the word about corrective rape in South Africa
Several weeks ago, survivors of "corrective rape" -- a heinous practice in South Africa where lesbians are raped under the guise of "curing" them -- started a petition on Change.org to ask the Minister of Justice to declare corrective rape a hate crime.
It has since become the largest-ever petition on Change.org, and the Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Justice has repeatedly contacted us to complain that they are overwhelmed with the messages coming from every part of South Africa and every corner of the globe. But the minister still refuses to meet with the activists who started the campaign -- Ndumi Funda and the women of the non-profit Lulekisizwe.
Ndumi asked us to pass the note below along to Change.org members. Read the note, then please continue to spread the word by posting on Facebook and forwarding this email to 10 friends.
To Change.org members, editors and most of all to all of you who signed our petition,
We are GOBSMACKED at the response that our petition has received. Our fight against corrective-rape has been going on for so long, under the most harrowing of circumstances, with only a few volunteers to help, and it just seemed that nobody was listening, nobody cared, and our sisters were getting raped, beaten up and murdered without anyone doing anything about it.
In absolute frustration, we decided to write a petition. This was a first for us, and never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that we would get this kind of a response. We did jokingly say that we wanted to crash the Ministry of Justice's servers, but we thought that our petition would get a thousand or so signatures if we were lucky. More than 65,000 signatures later, and the senior Ministry officials we targeted are apparently having major difficulty accessing their e-mail because of all the e-mails your signatures are generating! WOOOHOOOO! Well done & thank you!
If you haven't already signed the 'Corrective Rape' petition, please sign and share it with your friends:
Unfortunately, despite this becoming the most popular petition of ALL TIME on Change.org, and clearly getting the attention of the minister, Lulekisizwe has still not heard a word from the Justice Department! We need a meeting with the Minister of Justice so we can discuss how 'corrective rape' victims are treated, the lack of police response, how long the court cases take, why so many of the dockets get 'lost' and why the rapists get out on such low bail. Please keep the pressure up!
Thanks to a donation from an ethical cosmetics company in the UK called Lush, we were able to get another, more secure place to stay and use as a safe-house for the victims, but the rapes and assaults are continuing. We are worn out and things are far from easy, especially at this time of the year when stress levels are very high.
The one thing that is giving us hope is all of you showing love and caring by signing and sharing the petition. We are thrilled, excited and very, very humbled by the support that every one of you have shown, and all we can say is thank you and please, please don't stop. Ask your friends to sign our petition:
Bless you all and have a great Festive Season,
Ndumi Funda & the Lulekisizwe team
25 JANUARY 2011
‘Corrective rape’, the vicious practice of raping lesbians to ‘cure’ their sexuality, is becoming a crisis in South Africa. But brave activists are calling on the world to help stop these heinous Hate Crimes -- and finally the government is beginning to respond. Let's support them. Sign the petition and send it to friends!
Millicent Gaika was bound, strangled, tortured and raped for five hours by a man who crowed that he was ‘curing’ her of her lesbianism.
She barely survived, but she is not alone -- this vicious crime is recurrent in South Africa, where lesbians live in terror of attack. But no one has ever been convicted of 'corrective rape'.
Amazingly, from a tiny Cape Town safehouse a few brave activists are risking their lives to ensure that Millicent’s case sparks change. Their appeal to the Minister of Justice has exploded to over 140,000 signatures, forcing him to respond on national television. But the Minister has not yet answered their demands for action.
Let's shine a light on this horror from all corners of the world -- if enough of us join in to amplify and escalate this campaign, we can reach President Zuma, who is ultimately responsible to uphold constitutional rights. Let’s call on Zuma and the Minister of Justice to publicly condemn ‘corrective rape’, criminalise hate crimes, and ensure immediate enforcement, public education and protection for survivors. Sign the petition now and share it with everyone -- we’ll deliver it to the South African government with our partners in Cape Town:
South Africa, often called the Rainbow Nation, is revered globally for its post-apartheid efforts to protect against discrimination. It was the first country to constitutionally protect citizens from discrimination based on sexuality. But in Cape Town alone, the local organization Luleki Sizwe has recorded more than one 'corrective rape' per day, and impunity reigns.
'Corrective rape' is based on the outrageous and utterly false notion that a lesbian woman can be raped to 'make her straight', but this heinous act is not even classified as a hate crime in South Africa. The victims are often black, poor, lesbian women, and profoundly marginalised. But even the 2008 gang rape and murder of Eudy Simelane, the national hero and former star of the South Africa women's national football team, did not turn the tide. And just last week Minister Radebe insisted that motive is irrelevant in crimes like 'corrective rape.'
South Africa is the rape capital of the world. A South African girl born today is more likely to be raped than she is to learn to read. Astoundingly, one quarter of South African girls are raped before turning 16. This has many roots: masculine entitlement (62 per cent of boys over 11 believe that forcing someone to have sex is not an act of violence), poverty, crammed settlements, unemployed and disenfranchised men, community acceptance -- and, for the few cases that are courageously reported to authorities, a dismal police response and lax sentencing.
This is a human catastrophe. But Luleki Sizwe and partners at Change.org have opened a small window of hope in the fight against it. If the whole world weighs in now, we could get justice for Millicent and national action to end 'corrective rape':
This is ultimately a battle with poverty, patriarchy, and homophobia. Ending the tide of rape will require bold leadership and concerted action to spearhead transformative change in South Africa and across the continent. President Zuma is a a Zulu traditionalist, who has himself stood trial for rape. But he condemned the arrest of a gay couple in Malawi last year, and, after massive national and international civic pressure, South Africa finally approved a UN resolution opposing extra-judicial killing in relation to sexual orientation.
If enough of us join this global call for action, we could push Zuma to speak out, drive much-needed government action, and begin a national conversation that could fundamentally shift public attitudes toward rape and homophobia in South Africa. Sign on now and spread the word:
A case like Millicent’s makes it easy to lose hope. But when citizens come together with one voice, we can succeed in shifting fundamentally unjust, but deeply ingrained practices and norms. Last year, in Uganda, we succeeded in building such a massive wave of public pressure that the government was forced to shelve legislation that would have sentenced gay Ugandans to death. And it was global pressure in support of bold national activists that pushed South African leaders to address the AIDS crisis that was engulfing their country. Let’s join together now and speak out for a world where each and every human being can live without fear of abuse.
With hope and determination,
Alice, Ricken, Maria Paz, David and the rest of the Avaaz team
Blog of Luleki Sizwe, South African organization leading the call to their government to stop 'corrective rape', and provides support to victims
Minister of Justice Radebe’s nationally televised interview (South African Broadcasting Corporation)
Protest against ‘corrective rape’ (The Sowetan)
Petition launched on Change.org by activists from Luleki Sizwe
"South Africa's shame: the rise of child rape" (The Independent)
"Exploring homophobic victimisation in Gauteng, South Africa: issues, impacts, and responses" (Centre for Applied Psychology, University of South Africa)
"We have a major problem in South Africa" (The Guardian)
"South Africa: Rape Facts" (Channel 4)
"Understanding men’s health and use of violence: interface of rape and HIV in South Africa" (Medical Research Council)
"Preventing Rape and Violence in South Africa" (Medical Research Council)
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