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!
Dear President Motlanthe,
I am shocked and horrified to read of ActionAid's recent report suggesting that "corrective" rape is widespread throughout South Africa. This practice, in which men rape lesbian women in an effort to "cure" them of their sexual orientation, is horrific and must be stopped.
I appreciate that South Africa's constitution recognizes the rights of gay and lesbian people, but I am deeply disturbed that this does not extend to the legal system. "Corrective" rape must be deemed a hate crime - and be punishable to the fullest extent of South African law.
The fact that 31 lesbian women have been murdered in homophobic attacks since 1998, and only two perpetrators have gone to trial - and only one has been convicted - demonstrates a clear problem with South Africa's judicial system. Women never deserved to be raped - and being a lesbian is not something that can be corrected by forcible heterosexual intercourse. "Corrective" rape must be deemed a hate crime and an emphasis must be placed on arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators of these crimes.
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