South Africa has been dubbed the rape capital of the world. Statistics show that one-quarter of all women in the country are raped, with many being raped before they turn 16-years-old. If those numbers are true, that means that nearly half a million South African women are raped each year.
Beyond this ugly statistic, South Africa has also become an epicenter for a phenomenon known as "corrective rape," where gays and lesbians (particularly lesbians) are raped by assailants in an effort to cure them of their homosexuality. Estimates show that upwards of 10 people per week report that they've been victims of "corrective rape," and that often times their perpetrators walk free.
It's time to demand that the South African government, particularly the administration of President Jacob Zuma, address this ugly phenomenon. The whole world will be watching South Africa this year as the country prepares to host the 2010 World Cup. With the whole world watching, South Africa's time to act is now to address its culture of rape, and the abhorrent practice of "corrective rape." Send the South African government a message now that inaction in the face of this injustice is intolerable.
This is not just a social problem, it's an epidemic, and I demand your administration work to address this problem.
Even worse is the increasing evidence of a phenomenon known as "corrective rape," where gays and lesbians (particularly lesbians) are raped as a means of trying to change their sexual orientation. Estimates show that upwards of 10 people per week report that they've experienced "corrective rape" by an assailant, only to see consistent denial from authorities that this phenomenon exists, and to watch their perpetrators walk free.
In early April, another woman in South Africa was raped for five hours by her assailant, with the perpetrator screaming at her, "I know you are a lesbian. You are not a man, you think you are, but I am going to show you, you are a woman. I am going to make you pregnant. I am going to kill you."
How can South Africa stay quiet in the face of this abhorrent phenomenon?
I demand that your administration take action immediately to acknowledge the presence of corrective rape, and the larger epidemic of rape in your country, and work with authorities to institute policies to combat this ugly trend.
The whole world is watching South Africa. Will it be a country that is viewed as a success story, and a country that values human rights? Or will it be a country that proudly boasts the reputation of the rape capital of the world?
Your actions will help determine that. I urge your administration to act today.