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"A penny for your thoughts"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lesbians subjected to "corrective rape" in South Africa

South African Human Rights Commission backed, international NGO ActionAid said the horrific crimes against lesbians were going unrecognised by the state and unpunished by the legal system. Lesbians living in South Africa are being subjected to "corrective rape" and severe violence by men trying to "cure" them of their sexual orientation. Research shows 86 per cent of black lesbians from the Western Cape live in fear of sexual assault. Triangle, a gay rights organisation, said it deals with up to 10 new cases of "corrective rape" every week.

In April last year when Eudy Simelane, former star of South Africa's national female football squad, became one of the victims of "corrective rape". The partially clothed body of Eudy Simelane, former star of South Africa's acclaimed Banyana Banyana national female football squad, was found in a creek in a park in Kwa Thema, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Simelane had been gang-raped and brutally beaten before being stabbed 25 times in the face, chest and legs. As well as being one of South Africa's best-known female footballers, Simelane was a voracious equality rights campaigner and one of the first women to live openly as a lesbian in Kwa Thema. Since then a tide of violence against lesbian women in South Africa has continued to rise and scores more women have been deliberately targeted for rape in a macho culture society which seeks to oppress women and sees them as merely sexual beings macho culture, which seeks to oppress women and sees them as merely sexual beings.

The July 2008 trial of the three men accused of Simelane's rape and murder has produced the first conviction, when one man who pleaded guilty to her rape and murder was jailed last month, February 2009.

While hate crimes – especially of a sexual nature – are rife, it is not something that the South African government has prioritised as a specific project as acclaimed by South Africa's national prosecuting authority.

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