12 May 2011


This item was reported in Care2 on 11 May 2011:

13-Year-Old Lesbian Latest Victim of 'Corrective' Rape in South Africa

posted by: Steve Williams

A 13-year-old South African girl who openly self-identifies as a lesbian has become the latest victim of "corrective" rape, that is to say where a woman is sexually violated in a supposed attempt to turn her straight.

The incident occurred in Pretoria last Thursday, and unlike other recent victims she did survive the attack. Reports also indicate that an unnamed transgender person may also have been raped over the weekend.

More from The Guardian:

Officials said the 13-year-old victim's case is being investigated by police and she and her family are receiving support. Tlali Tlali, a government spokesman, said it seemed to be another incident of corrective rape, adding: "Government condemns this senseless and cowardly act of criminality."

Tlali said every South African had the right to express themselves in the sexual orientation of their choice. "Gay and lesbian rights are human and constitutional rights which must be protected and respected at all times."

Ndumie Funda, founder of the Luleki Sizwe Project, a charity that supports survivors of corrective rape in Cape Town, said she had heard reports of a transgender person being raped over the weekend. "It is getting worse and needs to come to an end," she said. "People are not being given a platform to come out of the closet. What about those who are locked in a cage and cannot come out? It's not fair and it's about time we talk."

Funda, 37, became involved in the campaign when she met Nosizwe Nomsa Bizana, who had been raped at gunpoint by five men and infected with HIV. The couple became engaged but Bizana died in 2007. Funda is forced to take a different route home every day to avoid being targeted because of her public activism.

She estimates about 510 women report corrective rape in South Africa each year and warned of a popular backlash. "It is about time we retaliate," she said.

Possible action includes disrupting imminent local elections. "We used to say during the apartheid era we will deal with them the way the enemy deals with us. The retaliation will be legitimated by the reaction of the people. I cannot give further details until I confer with the other comrades."

This is not a unique incident. Just last month Noxolo Nogwaza, 24, was raped and then stoned to death by a gang of men who were heard to shout anti-gay epithets. Nogwaza was open about her sexuality and was a member of a local LGBT rights organization. Advocates noted that Nogwaza's murder was terribly reminiscent of lesbian soccer player Eudy Simelane's murder three years ago.

While South Africa's post-apartheid constitution explicitly protects gay people from discrimination and violence, human rights advocates warn of an "epidemic" of violence against gay and gender nonconforming people in South Africa.

The South African government has set up a panel to deal with hate crimes after an international outcry from LGBT rights advocates and organizations that the murders were not being properly investigated. How the panel will tackle this issue remains to be seen.

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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm