"Corrective Rape" is a term used to describe when a man rapes a lesbian with the aim of 'turning' her heterosexual!
This heinous crime is prolific in South Africa, especially in the ‘townships.’
Most of the victims are tortured, grievously assaulted and sometimes murdered! They are also prone to getting HIV/AIDS from the assault, and many of them commit suicide as a result of the ‘corrective rape’!
The South African government and justice system are failing the victims of Corrective Rape by letting the perpetrators out on ridiculously low bail, and taking literally years to bring the court-cases to a conclusion. In the meantime the victims have to live with seeing and being harassed and threatened by their rapists every day, as do those who help the victims!
In the last 10 years:
*31 lesbian women have been murdered because of their sexuality
*More than 10 lesbians a week are raped or gang raped in Cape Town alone
*150 women are raped every day in South Africa
*For every 25 men accused of rape in South Africa, 24 walk free
Despite all this, hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation are not recognised by South African law!
We call on the South African government to declare "Corrective Rape" a Hate-Crime that is punishable by the harshest sentences!
Photo credit: babasteve
South Africa was the first nation on earth to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation in the constitution, the first African country to legalize same-sex marriage and the world's first republic to guarantee LGBT citizens equal rights in all realms of life (including adoption and military service).
But the South African government and justice system is failing the victims of corrective rape, by letting the perpetrators out on ridiculously low bail and taking literally years to bring the court-cases to a conclusion. Victims and those who help them see these rapists every day, and are regularly taunted and threatened by them.
Activists from Luleki Sizwe in the Cape Town township of Gugulethu have tried to bring the issue to your attention on numerous occasions, asking you to declare 'corrective rape' a hate crime and work with them to find solutions.
But when they did not receive a reply from you or anyone in your office, they launched an international petition. It has since become the most popular petition of all time on Change.org, the fastest growing social action platform on earth.
Mr Minister, some 140,000 people from 163 countries have called on you to do something about corrective rape. Since Luleki Sizwe called on the international community for support, you have received an average 3,000 letters a day!
In the media the campaign calling has been covered by the BBC, Voice of America, SABC, the Sowetan, the Cape Argus, KAYA FM and many others.
But to date, the only response received has been from Tlali Tlali, your Chief of Staff, complaining about the volume of emails on his iPad.
Is this the kind of impression that the South African Ministry of Justice wants to give some 125,000 people from all over the world? Would it not be much easier to just pick up the phone, call the activists, and try to work WITH them in good faith to actually address the problem?
Luleki Sizwe is a small Cape Town charity that works to rescue, support, feed and nurse to health survivors of 'corrective rape'. It is led by community activist Ndumie Funda, who founded the group in 2007 after both her best friend and fiancée were the victims of 'corrective rape'.
One recent case, about which Luleki Sizwe supporters have already sent you tens of thousands of letters, is that of Millicent Gaika, who was strangled with a wire, beaten and raped for five hours by Andile Ngoza in order to "turn her straight".
Since that time the court-case has been postponed numerous times, and Andile is out on bail, roaming the same streets where Millie lives. This has forced her to go into hiding as the courtcase has again been postponed to February 2011.
Andile is forbidden from entering Gugulethu as part of his bail conditions, but he has constantly broken those conditions and threatened Ndumie a number of times. One time Ndumie called the police and Andile was arrested, but he was back on the streets within a day or two - on R60 bail! He and his friends then started pursuing Ndumie, forcing her into hiding.
I ask that you investigate the government’s handling of this case.
I also ask that you work WITH Ndumie and the volunteers at Luleki Sizwe to achieve the following goals:
1. Acknowledgement: A statement by the minister decrying corrective rape and with a public commitment to lobby to have it classified as a hate crime with a minimum 25 year sentence.
2. Prevention: Showing leadership in developing resources for LGBT awareness and public education against sexual violence. The introduction into the school-syllabus of anti-homophobic instruction and information, for the educators and the pupils, as a lot of the rapes and homophobic bullying occurs in schools, by pupils and educators.
3. Enforcement: Resources for better policing and enforcement of existing law, and development of tougher laws to combat corrective rape. Specifically:
*The establishment of a national task force to combat LGBTI crimes, including corrective rape.
*A FEMALE officer who is trained to handle all aspects of rape on duty at ALL police stations 24/7 , or a social worker trained in the same at ALL police stations.
*Anti-homophobic training for ALL South African Police Members! (The detective who took Millie's first statement was a drunk, homophobic male!)
*A minimum bail amount for LGBTI violent crimes, and no chance of getting out on bail again if they break bail conditions (Andile R60)
*A Minimum sentence of 25-life for corrective rape!
*The right to a speedy trial - currently the court-cases are taking years!
*At least 1 detective @ each Police Station (especially in the townships) that handles all the LGBTI cases, so that they know what they are dealing with and how to handle the cases, as each time it is a different detective and there is no continuity.
*A clampdown on the bribery and corruption at Police Stations and Courts, where the dockets are often "lost"
4: Recovery: A commitment to build safe-houses and found recovery programs for the survivors of corrective rape. Survivors of corrective rape should not have to go to the same school or live in the same area as the perpetrator.
I call on you to actively take up the cause of corrective rape, to immediately make contact with the activists of Luleki Sizwe and to make a good faith effort to work with them to reach the urgent goals above.
We look forward to your response.