The brutality of corrective rape
South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of sexual assault. According to a 2009 government survey, one in four men admit to having sex with a woman who did not consent to intercourse, and nearly half of these men admitted to raping more than once. An earlier government study found that a majority of rapes were committed by friends and acquaintances of the victim. Just as disturbing is a practice called “corrective rape” — the rape of gay men and lesbians to “cure” them of their sexual orientation.
We bring you here a drop in the ocean, six stories of lesbian women who have been sexually attacked by men, some of these stories are heartbreaking in the best case, some had the worst ending of all. Please read and share to raise awareness of this horrific act in South Africa, hoping some kind of help will arrive one day soon.
Eudy Simelane – 2008
In one of the few cases to attract press attention, in 2008, Eudy Simelane, a lesbian, was gang-raped and stabbed to death. Her naked body was dumped in a stream in the Kwa Thema township outside Johannesburg. A soccer player training to be a referee for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, she was targeted because of her sexual orientation. A mural was painted after the body of her was found in the same place.
Noxolo Nogwaza’s – 2011
In 2011, Noxolo Nogwaza’s body was found in a drainage ditch in the Kwa Thema township near Johannesburg. She was raped; her body was mutilated; her eyes were pulled from their sockets; her brain was split open; and her teeth were scattered around her body. Ms. Nogwaza had been seen earlier that evening in a bar with a female friend. Her mother sits by her grave in the picture below.
Zukiswa Gaca- 2009
In December 2009, Zukiswa Gaca left a party to buy cigarettes. A man, who knew she was a lesbian, accompanied her. He deceptively led her to a shack where someone was sleeping. “He said he was going to show me I was a woman so he took off his pants and put a blanket over the man sleeping on the bed. He raped me in front of his friend who just lay there under the blanket.”
Lindeka Stulo – 2010
In June 2010, Lindeka Stulo was attacked by a man while walking home. He slammed her head into a nearby wall with a heavy crate. Two weeks later, the same man struck her on the back of the head with a bar. “You are a girl, not a boy,” she remembers hearing. “I am going to beat you until you stop what you are doing with other girls.”
Pearl Mali – 2004
In 2004, Pearl Mali was raped for the first time by an elderly man whom her mother brought home from church. She was 12 years old. The man raped her in her bedroom almost daily until she was 16 years old. “My mother didn’t want me to be gay so she asked him to move in and be my husband. She hoped it would change me.”
Hlengiwe Hlengwa – 2007
In 2007, Hlengiwe Hlengwa was repeatedly raped by her uncle, whom she depended on financially. He told her that by forcing her to have sex with him, he was trying to change her.
Funeka Soldaat, a founder of Free Gender, a black lesbian activist group in the Khayelitsha township outside Cape Town, described an atmosphere of pervasive fear: “It’s as if you are sitting like a time bomb. You don’t know when it’s going to explode. You are just waiting for it to be your turn. And you won’t get any support from the community, as the community thinks homosexuality is un-African. Homophobia is going to take time to go away, if it ever does.”
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