July 03, 2011, by Melanie Nathan,
Early in 2010, I started covering the stories of women in the South African Townships, who were raped by men seeking to “correct” the fact that they were lesbians, touting that rape would change the sexuality of the victim. I never believed that these brutal crimes ever truly earned the name “corrective.” The so called descriptive term was in fact anything but descriptive of the atrocity. Yet it served a purpose, because now the term serves to helm a crime that archives indescribable viciousness, murder of body mind and spirit, of women who did nothing more than live the life they were born to.
While the ominous call of the term, “corrective rape” may seem to hide the real intent of the cruel perpetrators, I have come to learn through the years of my activism and involvement with the issue, that these rapes are motivated by pure hate – homophobia – hate for a minority class of women who interfere with the notion of male power and dominance, spurred by a cultural generated entitlement, inducing a sordid justification by men who believe they own the sexuality of women.
Two years ago, the South African Government ignored activist pleas for attention to this matter, which was clearly one of endemic proportions in the South African Townships. Together with Ndumie Funda’s and Luleki Sizwe’s help, a core few worked tirelessly to bring attention to the issue. I wrote the story of Millicent Gaika and followed it through every step of the inept condition of the South African justice system, noting and drafting the reforms that would be needed for change.
Eventually, after drafting and publishing reforms, http://www.change.org picked up the issue in a record breaking campaign, and after 200,000 e-mails jammed the computers of the office of South Africa’s minister of Justice, the Hon. Jeff Radebe, a meeting was called in Parliament in Cape Town.
On March 15, 2011, a large crowd of activists including Free Gender’s Funeka Soldaat, Eugene ‘Huge’ Brockman and Henri Bantjez (SA Gay FLAG), Gareth Dallas (Cape Town Pride Executive Director), Zanale Muholi, international activist photographer, Mike Lupnow and Ecclessia de Lange (lesbian Methodist Minister under expulsion,) I attended the meeting, as the communications spokesperson for Luleki Sizwe; and arm in arm with Ndumie Funda, we presented the signatures to the South African Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and took the lead in the historic DOJCD meeting that has now yielded a task force on hate crimes, with the “corrective rape” issue as rudder.
Gay, Lesbian LGBTIAQ Task Force Named for South Africa:
On the 29th of June, after much deliberation, consultation and three rounds of talks of the South African Department of Justice, representatives of South Africa’s LGBTIAQ community has been appointed to an interim task team on homophobic and gender based hate crimes. These representatives will meet with a cluster of governmental representatives for SAPS, Social Development, Justice, National Prosecutors, Health etc. reporting to respective deputy ministers and inter-departmentally.
The aim of the task team is to affect change and give access to the LGBTIAQ community, which has been expressing sentiments of marginalization, which was brought to the fore with “corrective rape” of lesbian women.
The most prominent activist against corrective rape, Ndumie Funda of Luleki Sizwe has been appointed as a member to the task team. Ms. Funda. Ms. Funda stated “I am excited that we will be getting our heads together and putting our differences aside to work, for our communities. It is about time we have united forces.”
The team will be of a temporary and interim nature as it was clear that immediate action should be taken and access given to governmental resources to deal with the reality of murders, attacks and corrective rape cases on a regular basis, whilst arranging for an “imbizo”/ national caucus to discuss these issues and to elect permanent task team members and their resource teams representing various constituencies.
At the moment the representatives consists of the following LGBTIAQ representatives who represent various sectors, have proven constituencies and track records in aiding the pink communities of South Africa:
Community Based Organizations:
Ndumie Funda (Luleki Sizwe) and
Funeka Soldaat (Free Gender)
Joint Working Group (a cluster of National LGBTIAQ Non Profit Organizations):
- · Phindi Malaza (FEW)
- · Zethu Matabeni (GALA)
- · Jill Henderson (Triangle)
- · Juan Nel (UCAP)
· Dipika Nath (Human Rights Watch)
· Nokhwezi Hoboyi (TAC)
Two members are still outstanding with, COSATU who is still to choose a representative on worker rights for the LGBTIAQ community and a representative experienced with gender based violence.
The interim task team will meet on July 14th to:
- · address and finalize the plan of action and terms of reference for the task team,
- · to escalate ongoing and new cases of hate crimes,
- · to establish the task teams processes, financial and human resources
- · to plan and coordinate a broadly representative national “imbizo” to discuss hate crimes and elect a permanent task team.
Before July 14th these and other LGBTIAQ organizations are asked to submit:
- · draft terms of reference for the task teams
- · cases of homophobic hate crimes that need attention and escalation.
The Government and the Department of Justice also has to meet with other collaborative governmental departments to decide on how much budget and resources they could allocate to the interim task team, especially since there might be flights and accommodation needed for some of the interim task team member’s meeting on July 14th.
The question on who’d chair the task team still remains as it has been indicated that Jeff Radebe, the Minister of Justice would not be able to regularly lead meetings.
For more information on Cases and Articles,
Contact Melanie Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos Copyright: Melanie Nathan – May be used with accreditation and link to this post.
Lesbian Corrective Rape Victim has her day in Court
By Melanie Nathan NOV 05-2010. (Updated February 14, 2011)
This is the face of South African lesbian who was beaten and raped for five hours by a man who told her he wanted to “turn her into a woman”. This is the face of a warrior who despite all odds, trauma, and police victimization, found her way to Court today by public transportation, to testify against her brutal attacker, who remained free on bail to -in essence- board the same bus. The Police were simply not willing to give this young woman a ride to the Court. read more ..
—————————————————– more articles on topic:- ——————————————–
South Africa: Historic Task Force for LGBT Hate Crimes Legislation – Corrective Rape
Melanie Nathan, May 03, 2011- CAPE TOWN, South Africa, May 3rd 2011. In March I attended the first meeting at the DOJCD in South Africa, as a spokesperson with Ndumie Funda of Luleki Sizwe, and we outlined the need for… (Continue reading)
Rest in Peace Noxolo –
South African Corrective Rape Outrage: 13 Years Old Lesbian Brutally Assaulted
Posted by Melanie Nathan May 04, 2011 Corrective Rape Equals Murder This Union has been saddened and deeply disturbed by the murder of Comrade Noxolo Nogwaza, who was laid to rest in the presence of thousands of activists and community… (Continue reading)
Melanie Nathan, May 15, 2011, South Africans have a unique way of protesting. They invoke dance, song, ad-lib words and the old apartheid era “Amandla Awethu!” Amandla is a Xhosa and Zulu word meaning “power”. The word was a popular rallying… (Continue reading)
Homophobia in Africa:Breaking the Silence- Metal Workers vs Corrective Rape Murder
Melanie Nathan, May 04, 2011. “Break the Silence – Say No to Homophobia” is the call of South African LGBT activists and friends and family of the silenced victims of violence against sexual minorities. South Africa is country of contradictions, yet… (Continue reading)
Update Points to Extreme Brutality in the Horrific ‘Corrective’ Rape & Murder of 24 year old Lesbian
Posted by Melanie Nathan, April 29 2011, The body of Noxolo Nogwaza, a 24 year old lesbian, was found lying in an alley in Kwa-Thema, Gauteng – near Springs – at about 9am on Sunday, April 24 2011. Noxola’s… (Continue reading)
South African Department of Justice Promises Priority in Rape & Murder of Noxolo Nogwaza
Melanie Nathan- April 29, 2011 I truly believe that the South African authorities are starting to tackle the issue of lesbians and corrective rape with a sense of urgency and that they have attributed a priority to the crimes – based… (Continue reading)
South African Parliament Monument: Gen. Jan Smuts gets a Taste of Lesbian with a FLAG
Grassroots Activists to Meet Minister of Justice to request “Corrective Rape” Commission
Read: Melanie Nathan’s Keynote Speech at Gala Cape Town Pride
Melanie Nathan 03-04-2011 CAPE TOWN – After my speech at Cape Town pride Pink Gala, I was asked for copies – and also a few magazines wanted to publish it. So I decided i would post it here. I may have… (Continue reading)
South African LGBT Activists Launch Unique Rainbow Flag
President Zuma’s rape trial 2007 Mel Nathan; Nov 26-2010 – Two-thirds of the one in three men who admit to having committed rape in Gauteng, South Africa, said they raped because of a sense of sexual… (Continue reading)
Donation for Victims of South African Corrective Rape
Melanie Nathan, Nov 25, 2010 – Perseverance pays off; “don’t tell me it Can’t be done, until you have tried.” I believe trying means going beyond what others deem possible. Well since the story of Millicent Gaika… (Continue reading)
.Melanie Nathan Nov 24-2010 – Continuing to fight for Justice for Millicent Gaika and to find safe protection for Milly and Ndumie Funda and other victims of the horrendous crime of “corrective rape: – in South Africa. Minister Jeffrey Thamsanqa Radebe,… (Continue reading)
South Africa: Badly Burnt Body of Murdered Lesbian
Melanie Nathan – Nov 23, 2010- SOUTH AFRICA, Cape Town: President Zuma has failed the people of South Africa, especially women and lesbians. Once standing trial himself for rape, this President is not doing anything to protect South African… (Continue reading)
Posted by Melanie Nathan. Tomorrow, Wednesday April, 14, 2010, I will be participating in a blog radio fund raiser to help of Millicent Gaika, the South African woman who after being brutally raped, is destitute. In a state of shock… (Continue reading)
Written on 7 Apr, 2010 at 3:55 Melanie Nathan; ‘Gay and lesbian activists waved placards “no bail for rapists” and “bring back the rope”, at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, in support of Millicent Gaika, a Lesbian who was brutally assaulted and raped, and to oppose… (Continue reading)