Reuters reports that NGO ActionAid has released a report on hate crimes, backed by the South African Human Rights Commission, detailing the prevalence of "corrective rape" in South Africa, where gangs of men are raping lesbians to "cure" them (emphasis mine):
South Africa has one of the world's most progressive constitutions and became the first country in Africa to allow gay marriage in 2006, but homosexuality is still widely frowned upon and same-sex unions are often decried as "un-African."ActionAid estimates there are half a million rapes in South Africa every year, which is one of the highest rape rates in the world, matched by one of the lowest conviction rates in the world. According to ActionAid, police are "particularly reluctant to investigate crimes against lesbians" and the support for survivors [is] inadequate."
"We get insults every day, beatings if we walk alone, you are constantly reminded that you deserve to be raped," ActionAid quoted one lesbian as saying. "They yell, 'if I rape you then you will go straight, you will buy skirts and start to cook because you will have learnt how to be a real woman'."
…One lesbian and gay support group told ActionAid it was dealing with 10 new cases of lesbians being targeted for what it called "corrective rape" every week in Cape Town alone.
In the Telegraph's article on the report, a statement released by South Africa's national prosecuting authority is quoted with regard to the widespread inaction: "While hate crimes—especially of a sexual nature—are rife, it is not something that the South African government has prioritised as a specific project."
I don't imagine I need to explain to this community how horrific and desperate this situation is. Human rights and equality campaigners are counting on public outrage to force their government into action, so what we can do is email the South African Ministry of Justice and ask them politely but firmly to prioritize safety and justice for our South African sisters. Let us be the movement of the butterfly's wings that becomes a typhoon.
[H/T to Shakers alexthom and JR_JR.]