Friday, 13 March 2009

Raped for being a lesbian ...

And killed, as in the case of Eudy Simelane.

As well as being one of South Africa's best-known female footballers, Simelane was a voracious equality rights campaigner and one of the first women to live openly as a lesbian in Kwa Thema.

Her brutal murder took place last April, and since then a tide of violence against lesbian women in South Africa has continued to rise. Human rights campaigners say it is characterised by what they call "corrective rape" committed by men behind the guise of trying to "cure" lesbian women of their sexual orientation.

Now, a report by the international NGO ActionAid, backed by the South African Human Rights Commission, condemns the culture of impunity around these crimes, which it says are going unrecognised by the state and unpunished by the legal system.

The mindset and beliefs that support these forms of targeted violence are found anywhere where hatred against women exists in the mind of misogynist men. This happened a few months ago, near San Francisco, a North American city where it would seemingly be safe to be honest about one's sexual orientation.

The 28-year-old victim was attacked on December 13 in Richmond after she got out of her car, which bore a rainbow gay pride sticker. Police said the attackers made comments indicating they knew the woman, who lives openly with her female partner, was a lesbian.

The attack began when one of the men approached the woman, struck her with a blunt object and ordered her to strip. He then sexually assaulted her with the help of the others, according to detectives. When the group saw another person approaching, they forced the victim back into her car and took her to a burned-out apartment building.

She was raped again inside and outside the vehicle and left naked outside the building while her attackers took her wallet and drove off in her car, police said.

Heterosexuality is no protection against sexual assault however. If a group of men terrorize, sexually torture and assault a woman to teach her a lesson, those religious and cultural values that fuel their rage and hatred must be addressed and put on trial, just as its enforcers should be.
As it is with pedophile priests, the common element in these crimes is the institutional validation of the power to control and harm women and children.

4 comments:

Oemissions said...

That San Francisco story haunted my Christmas. And now this from S. Africa.
I know that it is ongoing but when it gets reported it brings up for me rage, numbing and despondency. I don't know of any immediate solutions, other than hockey, football, basketball heroes speaking out about this on national media and international media.

Hollywood Beach said...

Presuming that the Richmond victim was sexually assaulted because she was a lesbian is not accurate and only serves to diminish this violent criminal offense.
In this case, the victim was 'raped' because she was accessible and vulnerable. Assigning rational motivational factors to this senseless crime of violence is a exercise in futility. The predators who attacked this victim would have preyed upon any similarly vulnerable victim who was in the same place at the same time, including a child, a senior, or perhaps a dimutive and therefore vulnerable victim.
While all participants must be held accountable for their predatory behavior, the 'leader' must be judged more harshly than the 'followers'.

deBeauxOs said...

Not quite sure why you think the fact these assailants knew she was a lesbian diminishes the nature of this violent criminal offense.

I did say that sexual orientation - that is, heterosexuality - is no protection against this type of predator who use any perceived opportunity or vulnerability to inflict their criminal behaviour on victims.

Niles said...

Heck, often gender isn't protection, born-men or trans-men. So far as I've read, rape gangs of 'morality' men given either an official, or unofficial nod by the 'state' authorities to roam streets and brutally terrorize (vastly mostly) women out of 'uppitiness' has existed since...they figured out it worked stupendously as a social weapon and they would likely be winked at.

I often times get the feeling the prey (considering how impulsively people may be targeted) are incidental to the attacks, so long as they provide the generic altar for the stag gang's bonding rush. The plausible morality excuse du jour is always for the *attackers'* mental health in the wake of violence.

I like to pretend that civilization is crawling forward when media reports these sociopathic horrors as a/ actually occurring and b/ *society isn't bettered by them*.

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