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Four Men Guilty of Lesbian Killing in South Africa 

Four Men Guilty of Lesbian Killing in South Africa 


Four of nine men accused of the brutal murder of a South African lesbian in 2006 were found guilty on Friday. The four men were part of a group that kicked, stoned, beat, and stabbed to death 19-year-old Zoliswa Nkonyana near her home in Cape Town. The case, according to Nine News, has been delayed over half a decade with 30 postponements, largely because of change of defense attorneys or those same attorney's failure to appear in court.

The case illustrates the heightened concerns about an epidemic of "corrective rape" which has targeting gay women in the country for years. Lesbians are often targeted for this so-called corrective rape, which many men in the region believe will "cure" female homosexuality, in attacks that include stabbing, beating, stoning, and sexual assaults. Like Nkonyana's attackers, in many of these corrective rape assaults, large groups will often brutalize one lesbian together, but few, if any, of men are eventually tried for the crime. Lisa Holland of Sky News documented the wave of corrective rapes facing lesbians in the region and feminist publications like Women's News Networkhave been reporting on both the stories of lesbians who've been attacked and digital campaigns to change public perception on corrective rapes.

Meanwhile, lesbian activists in the region have been protesting the governments slow response and the court's relatively slim number of convictions.

In the Nkonyana case, Magistrate Raadiyah Wathen acquitted three of the men accused of her killing saying there was no evidence that linked them to the murder, though they were admittedly present when it occurred, and last month two other men from the attack were released for similar reasons.

The trial was reminiscent of the 2009 case in which Themba Mvubu -- one of several men accused of the gang rape, torture murder of lesbian activist and football player Eudy Simelane -- was sentenced to life in prison for the crime. Several other men who participated in the attack were not prosecuted.

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