Lesbians in South
Africa are at high risk of being raped in towns where
homosexuality is considered taboo -- where gangs of men view
rape as a "cure" for sexual orientation, according to
ActionAid's report "Hate Crimes: The Rise of
Corrective Rape in South Africa."
The country logs
approximately half a million rapes per year, and nearly all of
the accused rapists go unpunished. This behavior is
attributed to the patriarchal, male-dominated society in the
regions where it's rampant.
'corrective' rape is yet another grotesque
manifestation of violence against women, the most widespread
human rights violation in the world today,"
ActionAid's Zanele Twala said in a statement. "These
crimes continue unabated and with impunity, while governments
simply turn a blind eye."
At least 31 known
lesbians have also been murdered in homophobic attacks over the
last decade. However, since South Africa does not recognize
sexual orientation when classifying hate crimes, the actual
number is likely much higher. Among these cases, only two of
the men went to trial, and just one was convicted.
"Here in South
Africa you have judges sending women to jail for stealing a
loaf of bread to feed her baby, but men who gang-rape women,
who murder lesbians they walk the streets as free men,"
Tsidi, a hate-crime survivor in Cape Town said in a