The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) have added their voices to the call for state and civil action to be taken to prevent “cowardly”, homophobic sexual attacks on lesbians in South Africa.
It is the responsibility of all South Africans to take action on violence against people because of their sexual orientation, the NYDA said on Wednesday, after further reports of what it said had become a “worrying trend” in South Africa.
“In a country where the Constitution clearly stipulates that no person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone because of their sexual orientation, reports about lesbians being victims of corrective rape and murder have become a worrying trend,” the NYDA said in a statement.
“The NYDA calls upon all South Africans to take action against these ongoing violent attacks … the South African police should act swiftly to ensure that the perpetrators are apprehended.
“Community members also have a key role to play by reporting anyone who is suspected of intimidating or harming a person because of their sexual orientation.”
The NYDA was responding to reports of the “corrective rape” of a 13-year-old girl in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, last Thursday.
Last month, two openly gay women, Noxolo Nogwaza and Nokuthula Radebe, were raped and murdered. The attacks were believed to be motivated by homophobia.
On Tuesday, the ANC Women’s League said corrective rape was “heartless and senseless”.
“As the ANCWL, we regard corrective rape as nothing less than a hate crime and a clear indication that women, children, gay and lesbian individuals continue to be regarded as soft targets for cowardly acts of victimisation,” spokesperson Nosipho Ntwanambi said.
Ntwanambi said the ANCWL would appeal to Parliament and relevant gender structures to categorise this form of rape as a hate crime.
She said the police should respond quickly when such incidents were reported so offenders would “face the full might of the law”. — Sapa