South African Men “Cure” Lesbians With Rape

March 13, 2009

ActionAid(ChattahBox)—A report released today by the South African Human Rights Commission and ActionAid, an international anti-poverty organization, decried the growing violence against lesbian women in South Africa. South African men are targeting young lesbian women with “corrective rape” to cure them of their homosexual affliction and change them into “real girls.” Triangle, a gay rights organization, announced that hundreds of South African lesbian women have reported that gangs of men taunted them for being lesbians, and then proceeded to viciously rape and beat them.

ActionAid hopes to draw worldwide attention to this growing problem in South Africa, compounded by local prosecutors who refuse to treat these rapes as crimes, and a prevalent macho political environment that closes its eyes to the violence. Today’s report calls on the government to treat these “corrective rapes” as hate crimes, so that local police will prosecute and punish the attackers.

The national prosecuting authority recently issued a statement on the subject showing a complete disregard for the plight of these women, causing a local uproar, “While hate crimes – especially of a sexual nature – are rife, it is not something that the South African government has prioritized as a specific project.”

The brutal rape and murder last April of beloved Eudy Simelane, a local female soccer star who played with the winning Banyana National football team, brought attention to the escalating violence against women in South Africa. Simelane was a well-known gay right’s activist; her brutalized body was discovered in a field. She was gang-raped and stabbed dozens of times.

Four local men, from 18 to 24 years old, eventually appeared in court for her murder. Thato Petrus Mpithi pleaded guilty to murder, robbery and being an accomplice to rape. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison. The sentencing judge made a point of stating that Eudy Simelane’s sexual orientation had no bearing on the crime.

The other three defendants, Khumbulane Magagula, Johannes Mahlangu and Themba Mvubu, pleaded not guilty and are scheduled for trial in July 2009.


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