Activists Call For Retaliation Against Corrective Rape in South Africa
By B. Hutson
Although South Africa is the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalize gay marriage, it hasn’t stopped an increasing number of violent homophobic acts from being committed, namely “corrective rape,” which a 13-year-old lesbian recently became a victim of.
Activists say “corrective rape,” in which men rape lesbians to “cure” them of their sexual orientation, has been on the rise in South Africa. In the past decade, thirty-one lesbians have been killed because of their sexuality, and more than 10 lesbians a week are raped or gang raped in Cape Town alone, reports the Guardian.
The 13-year-old girl, who is said to be open about her sexuality, was raped in Pretoria last week.
Ndumie Funda, founder of the Luleki Sizwe Project, a charity that supports survivors of corrective rape in Cape Town, says the problem “is getting worse and needs to come to an end.”
“It is about time we retaliate,” she said.
Funda estimates that about 510 women report corrective rape in South Africa each year. Her fiancé, who died in 2007, had been raped at gunpoint by five men and infected with HIV.
Other alleged victims of corrective rape include Noxolo Nogwaza, a member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee, a gay rights group, who was raped by eight men and murdered in a township near Johannesburg; and Nokuthula Radebe, whose body was found in Soweto in March.
Last week, the South African government set up a team to address hate crimes against lesbian and gays after 170,000 people from around the world signed an online petition on change.org demanding action against corrective rape.
According to South Africa’s Medical Research Council, one in four men admit to committing rape. The country has one of the highest incidents of reported rape in the world. It’s saddening that this ‘epidemic’ continues to rise and there has yet to be policies implemented to protect women and hold offenders more accountable. Though the government has labeled corrective rape as a hate crime, this is only one step in a complex battle against rape.