Friday, July 1, 2011

Corrective Rape

South Africa is witnessing repression of another sort. This time, lesbian South Africans are living in fear as rape and murder become a daily threat in the townships they call home.

Noxolo Nkosana (above photo), is the latest victim of a series of violent attacks against lesbians - BBC News reported on June 30, 2011. She was stabbed a stone's throw from her home in Crossroads township, Cape Town, as she returned from work one evening with her girlfriend. The two men - one of whom lives in her community - started yelling insults. "They were walking behind us. They just started swearing at me screaming: hey you lesbian, you tomboy, we'll show you," Noxolo tells the BBC.

Before she knew it, a sharp knife had entered her back - two fast jabs, then she was on the ground. Half-conscious, she felt the knife sink into her skin twice more.

"I was sure that they were going to kill me", she says.

In April, Noxolo Nogwaza was raped by eight men and murdered in KwaThema township, near Johannesburg. This and other incidents represent what is known as 'corrective rape", in which bestial men rape lesbians in what they see as an attempt to "correct" their sexual orientation. The practice appears to be on the rise in South Africa.

According to Luleki Sizwe, a charity that helps women who have been raped in the Western Cape, more than ten lesbians per week are raped or gang-raped in Cape Town alone. Many of the cases are unreported because the victims are afraid that the police will taunt them, or that their attackers will come after therm, says Ndumie Funda, founder of Luleki Sizwe.

"Many of them just suffer in silence." she says. Isn't the government doing anything to stop these horrific crimes?

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