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Lesbians in South Africa are increasingly victims of ‘corrective rape’


Summary of story from the BBC, June 30, 2011

Lesbians in South Africa are living in fear of violent attacks including rape and murder. According to reports, 31 gay women have died as a result of attacks in the last 10 years.

Those responsible for the violence view it as a form of ‘corrective rape’: a way for men to ‘correct’ the sexual orientation of the women (see WVoN coverage).

Many of the cases are not reported because the victims are afraid that the police will laugh at them, or that their attackers will come after them, says Ndumie Funda, founder of Luleki Sizwe.

“Many of them just suffer in silence,” she says.

Some trace the root of the problem to pockets of traditional African society that have not accepted homosexuality – especially among women.

“African societies are still very patriarchal. Women are taught that they should marry men, anything outside of that is viewed as wrong,” says Lesego Tlhwale from African gay rights group Behind the Mask.

“It is seen as un-African for two women to marry. Some men are threatened by this and then want to ‘fix’ it,” she adds.

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