Saturday, October 29, 2011
Blacks are raping lesbians in South Africa
New York-based Human Rights Watch recently conducted interviews in six of South Africa's nine provinces and concluded: "Social attitudes towards homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people in South Africa have possibly hardened over the last two decades. The abuse they face on an everyday basis may be verbal, physical, or sexual - and may even result in murder." The group added: "This is a far cry from the promise of equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation contained in the country's constitution." Most known victims are poor and black and so are the perpetrators, prompting many to ask how a people who fought against discrimination during apartheid can now treat some of its most vulnerable in such a violent manner. Siphokazi Mthathi, South African director at Human Rights Watch, said: "We've failed to make it understood that there is a price for rape. Sexism is still deeply embedded here. There is still a strong sense among men that they have power over women, women's bodies and there's also a strong sense that there's not going to be consequences because most often there are no consequences." Interpol estimates that half of South African women will be raped in their lifetime. But corrective rape - i.e. the rape of lesbians in the belief that it will make them heterosexual - is not even recognized as a hate crime and rights groups say few victims report their cases to the police. In many African countries being gay is illegal.