While not unique to this country, “corrective rape” – the act of raping a LGBT person with the intent of “curing” them and turning them straight – has become synonymous with South Africa, where it is common and well documented.
In January, the Independent reported that in the past 15 years, 31 women have lost their lives and gotten raped in the process simply because they identified as lesbian.
The corrective rape of lesbian women was showcased in an episode of the popular television drama Intersexions 2 last year, sparking renewed conversations on the issue.
And in a moving New York Times feature, reporter Clare Carter documented the daily struggles of lesbian women in South African townships. In several cases, the women’s families were complicit in their rapes and the police were deaf to their please for help.
“It’s as if you are sitting like a time bomb. You don’t know when it’s going to explode. You are just waiting for it to be your turn,” Funeka Soldaat, the founder of black lesbian activist group Free Gender, told Carter.