South Africa’s lesbians fear shocking ‘corrective rape’

Gangs of men seeking to “cure” their corrective rape victims of their heterosexuality have escalated their attacks in recent years

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Acts of “corrective rape” have targeted lesbian women in South Africa, as an influx of the hate crime continues to surge.

Gangs of men seeking to “cure” their corrective rape victims of their heterosexuality have escalated their attacks in recent years, reported Britain’s The Independent on Saturday.

The newspaper reported on the case of Mvuleni Fana, a South African woman who was raped by attackers she recognized. The last thing she had remembered being said to her before passing out from the attack was the words: “After everything we’re going to do to you, you’re going to be a real woman, and you’re never going to act like this again.”

While Fana was lucky to survive, at least 31 women in the past 15 years have not, according to the newspaper, adding that the term “‘corrective rape’ was coined in South Africa in the early 2000s when charity workers first noticed an influx of such attacks.

The newspaper documents another victim’s attack, in which Sizakele Sigasa, a women’s and gay rights activist, and her friend Salone Massooa, were raped by a group of men in 2007.

“The women were gang raped, tortured, tied up with their underwear and shot in the head. Executed. No one was ever convicted,” the report stated.

South Africa’s rape statistics the world’s most shocking. The United Nations Office on Crime and Drugs ranked South Africa as highest for rapes per capita in a 1998-2000 report, with a breakdown indicating that one in every two women will be raped in her lifetime and that there are around 500,000 rapes a year.

“A quarter of men in the Eastern Cape Provinces, when asked anonymously by the Medical Research Council, admitted to raping at least once – three quarters of whom said their victim was under 20, a tenth said under 10. A quarter of schoolboys in Soweto described ‘jackrolling’ – the local term for gang rape – as ‘fun,’” the newspaper reported.

Clare Carter, a photographer documenting the stories of the corrective rape victims in South Africa, filmed men who easily admitted to corrective rape. Their quotes were carried by The Independent.

“If we want to finish lesbians and gays they must be forcefully raped,” says one, grinning at the camera. “A man must go back to his manhood. Women must be women. She must be ready and willing to have sex.”

“They must be raped so that their gay and lesbian behavior can come out,” adds another.

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