AND HOMOPHOBIC VIOLENCE | PETITION: It is time to invigorate the sleeping SA Task Task team – we must fight the violence with transparency and a plan
By Melanie Nathan, May 14, 2013
Activists in South Africa are calling for immediate invigoration, transparency and action by the Task Team that was established to combat so called “corrective rape” and homophobia.
After I wrote the story of Milicent Gaika back in 2010, “The Face of Corrective Rape” and it went viral around the world, it soon became apparent to me that she was not the only victim of so called “corrective rape” in South Africa and a picture emerged that the horrific crime was endemic in my birth country.
It also became clear that much needed to happen to change the homophobia and how victims of these crimes were being treated. I spent two years writing the stories and chronicling what change was needed. And then came the success of the first Petition and a chance for change.
Too many had suffered similar fate – often unreported, some resulting even in murder such as the case of Eudy Simelane, the famous soccer player.
South Africa is a country that has a constitution which boasts full equality, to include sexual orientation and gender identity. When it was noted that the government of South Africa, had done nothing to halt the barbaric sex attacks dubbed ‘corrective’ rape, two petitions emerged resulting in hundreds of thousands of signatures landing on the desk of Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe. This led to an invitation to the group, Luleki Sizwe, which had worked with me on the series of articles that followed.
Before I knew it I was in South Africa in March 2011, and together with Ndumie Funda of Luleki Sizwe, delivered the hard copy signatures by hand and attended a meeting by invitation of the Minister at Cape Town Parliament with the Ministry of Justice, other Government officials, and a handful of stakeholders. We plead the case for an investigation into “corrective rape” and how to make critical reforms to assist victims, provide public education, and fight the crime, yet to be considered a specific hate crime.
At that meeting it was agreed that a task team would be formed, to include members of government, grass root activists and a few organizations which had expressed interest, not only in the issue of “corrective rape,” but also with regard to homophobic violence in general.
I left to come back to the U.S.A. and since that time, two years later, have seen little or no advancement on the part of the Task Team.
The rapes, assaults murders and violence against gays, lesbians, transgender and bisexual South Africans in Townships and other areas continues at an alarming rate. Nothing has changed except for one simple fact and that is we are now sure that the South African government has an acute awareness of the problem.
Today a new Petition has launched and we cannot be silent. We need action. We need the government of South Africa to know that they are accountable to uphold the Constitution and so again we ask that all of you, no matter where you are, sign this Petition. Let your voice be heard – that we will not give up, nor will we be taken lightly – we will not tolerate violence against LGBT South Africans. That it is time for action and sleeping on this issue is costing lives.
This Petition is a way to show we are here and watching over our LGBT family worldwide.
SA’s TASK TEAM ON HOMOPHOBIA TURNS 2 years of age!
South Africa’s LGBTI citizens face traditionalists meddling in their constitutional rights, homophobic mindsets, violence, rape and murder.
Yet the very Task Team with access to government HAS NEVER:
– set up channels of communication to broader LGBTI South Africa and South Africans in general.
– publicized points of access to the Task Team for victims of homophobic violence nor relevant NPO’s.
– published and raised awareness of the status and progress of the Task Team.
– had either National or Regional caucuses as promised to:
-> escalate LGBTI community issues to government.
-> elect permanent Task Team Members.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
SPEAK UP TASK TEAM!