A 13-year-old South African girl is the latest victim of “corrective rape,” in which men rape lesbians to “cure” them of their sexual orientation in South Africa. As The Guardian reports 31 lesbians have been killed because of their sexuality in the past decade, and more than 10 lesbians a week are raped or gang raped in Cape Town alone. “Last month, a 24-year-old woman who belonged to a gay and lesbian rights group was stoned to death after an apparent gang rape.” Why do some South African men do this? The Guardian quotes Dean Peacock, co-founder and co-director of the Sonke Gender Justice Network, an organization that works with men and boys:

… [S]ome men described feeling threatened by gender transformation, including the assertion of women’s and children’s rights … When you compare South Africa with other countries, what distinguishes it is gang rape: a performance of masculinity, young men proving themselves to each other and saying to a woman: ‘We’re not prepared for you to assert that kind of autonomy, especially sexual autonomy’ … [S]ome men in post-apartheid South Africa occupied a “dangerous nexus” of patriarchy, masculinity, poverty, radical disappointment with the government, profound feelings of insignificance, and a sense they can act with impunity. But they were still individual agents able to make choices, and nothing could excuse horrendous violence against women …


Further Reading

No more caricatures

Engaging seriously with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life could help us understand how South Africa got where it is and where it’s going.