A new ActionAid report describes the chilling 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 crime.