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Monday, December 20, 2010

South Africa: Declare 'Corrective Rape' a Hate-Crime

"Corrective Rape" is a term used to describe when a male 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 taunted 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!

Petition Text -

Minister Radebe: Declare "Corrective Rape" a Hate-Crime

Dear Minister of Justice Radebe,

I am an activist for an NGO called Luleki Sizwe in the Cape Town township of Gugulethu, and I am currently covering and supporting the criminal proceedings of a victim of corrective-rape, Millicent Gaika.

Millicent was raped, beaten and strangled for five hours by Andile Ngoza in order to "turn her straight". Please check for the full story.

Millicent and her friends were walking home after visiting another friend. The man, whom she said she had known for a number of years and who had never objected to her sexuality before, asked her for a cigarette. She stayed to smoke with him, and followed him into his room when he refused to pass the cigarette to her.

According to her he then locked the door and started hitting her while she tried to fight back.

“He pulled off my clothes and pushed me down on the bed. He was holding me down, strangling me with the wire and pushing his hands hard onto my neck.” She added that he threatened to kill her and throw her body in the river. “I thought I was gonna die."

He kept saying to her, “I know you are a lesbian. You are not a man. You think you are, but I am going to show you are a woman. I’m gonna make you pregnant you are going to carry a baby for me.”

Millie went on to say “I really hate myself right now – Andile has killed me big time. I really hate men, honestly! Why me, why me?”

Mr Minister, 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.

On 16 November, 2010 Ndumie Funda, the founder of Luleki Sizwe, had a run-in with Andile Ngcoza, the man who raped Millicent Gaika. He is forbidden to enter Gugulethu as part of his bail conditions, but has constantly broken those conditions and threatened Ndumie various times. This time Ndumie called the police and he was arrested, but Andile was back on the streets within a day or two - on R60 bail!

Since his release he has asked family and friends to attack Ndumie Funda. He has constantly harassed her and made threats against her life and against her partner! This has forced Ndumie to go into hiding, which in turn has a devastating effect on the women she is helping... another corrective-rape victim, Bulelwa, committed suicide last week because she could not get help, as Ndumie feared for her own life and could not help Bulelwa. Ndumie is about the only help most of these young women have!

Sir, we have just entered the period of "16 Days of Activism against Woman & Child Abuse" with  much fanfare about what the government is going to do, yet the same government is doing nothing about corrective rape, of which it is aware!

According to the South African Constitution, everyone has the same rights, yet the Government is not protecting lesbian women before they are raped by publicly taking a stand against Corrective Rape, and the Justice System is failing the victims of Corrective Rape by not offering them protection, by allowing these violent criminals out on ridiculously low bail and by refusing the friends, family or Press into the court-room during the trial, where the victim is forced to face her rapist/attacker on her own and re-live her terrible experience...

Sir I entreat you on bended knees to:

1) Please take up our cause, publicly decry corrective rape, and lobby for it to be classified as a hate-crime with the harshest of sentences.
2) Investigate why Andile Ncoza was let out on bail, after being caught in the act and held by neighbors until the police arrived.
3) Investigate why he was let out on R60 bail again, after contravening his conditions of bail and threatening Millicent Gaika, her family, and Ndumie Funda and her partner

We all look forward to your response.


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