Campaign launched to halt so-called corrective rape in South Africa

By Catriona McGale

 

A campaign has been launched to fight against the so-called corrective rape of lesbians in South Africa.

 

The campaign was launched following the case of 30-year-old Millicent Gaika, who claims she was raped and beaten for five hours in order to “cure” her of her lesbianism.

 

The trial against her attacker has been delayed until February.

 

Unfortunately, Gaika’s case is not a one-off. Alarmingly, 'corrective' rape is a recurrent crime in South Africa. In Cape Town alone there has been more than one corrective rape reported to support group Luleki Sizwe per day, yet no one has ever been convicted of the offence.

 

Corrective rape refers to the notion that lesbians can, and should, be raped in order to be heterosexual and is not classed as a hate crime in South Africa.

 

It is often poor, black women who fall victim to corrective rape however in 2008 a former star player of the women’s national football team, Eudy Simelane, was gang raped and killed.

 

Now, a group of activists are trying to u-turn the issue. Their appeal to the Minister of Justice has gained huge support with 140,000 signatures being added to their petition.

 

The massive response has forced him to respond on national television.

 

He stated that 'corrective rape' was “something that we are definitely concerned about” and that he is prepared to contact the South African Law Reform Commission “in order to look at this issue much further” – but no action has yet been taken. 

 

The campaign has gained backing from around the globe and Kelly Osbourne this week posted a link to the campaign on her Twitter page.

 

To show your support, sign the petition here.

 

(To read the original article, visit this Pink Paper link.)

 

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