In recent years, South Africa has been affected by a scourge known as corrective rape: one of the most common and barbaric acts in a country where lesbian women now live in terror. Humanitarian sources report at least one such rape a day in Cape Town alone.
Corrective rape is based on the absurd conviction that a lesbian may become heterosexual after she is raped. The victims are primarily black, poor and marginalised, and not even the murder of Eudy Simelane, a national heroine and champion of the South African women’s football team who was raped to death in 2008 by a group of men who were never punished, was able to overturn the situation because rape is not regarded as a criminal act.
Unfortunately, apart from sexual violence against lesbians, we must also remember that South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world: a South African girl has more chance of being raped than of learning to read, and a quarter of girls are raped before they reach the age of 16.
The cultural factor is decisive: according to recent statistics, 62 % of South African men aged over 11 are convinced that forcing someone to have sex does not constitute a violent act. Add to this extreme poverty and police indifference, and the dramatic nature of the situation becomes clear.
How can a country like South Africa, founded on the rejection of all discrimination and born of the struggle against apartheid, accept this sort of crime? Will the Commission therefore promote actions that will force the South African Government to publicly condemn these barbarous acts and combat impunity for rape and corrective rape in South Africa?