The “Corrective Rape” of Lesbians

There is a silent epidemic in South Africa that is going on and the victims are being brushed aside because society frowns upon them and their lifestyle. Lesbians, especially the more butch kind, are being targeted for what is being coined as “Corrective Rape.” Corrective rape is meant to “cure,” or simply to punish, nonconforming sexual orientations, corrective rape may affect not only gay women, but also any women with nonconforming sexual identities. Girls of lesbians would be targeted to “teach” them straight sex. 1. According to Lorenzo Di Silvio of the Georgetown University Law Center, at least 500 lesbian women are victims of corrective rape each year. One out four men have participated in a rape of some kind. The numbers are astonishing yet no one is really taking action.

The irony is that in the South African Constitution says that no person shall be discriminated against based on their social status and identity, including sexual orientation, yet Corrective Rape is not considered a hate crime. Worse yet, the government takes no action to prevent or prosecute such occurrences. It is lumped in with other rapes, that go unpunished. The society as a whole has little aversion to harsh reality of being a woman, let alone a gay woman in South Africa.

EUDY SIMELANE was the midfield star and captain of South Africa’s international women’s football team. She was the first prominent lesbian activist in South Africa. Five men were charged with gang raping, torturing and murdering her to “correct” her lesbian ways. According to by the non-governmental organization ActionAid South Africa for every 25 men prosecuted for rape in South Africa, 24 walk free. “Rape and violence against lesbians is common. The problem is largely that of patriarchy. The men who perpetrate such crimes see rape as curative and as an attempt to show women their place in society.”

According to Wikipedia corrective rape has also been known to occur in Thailand, Ecuador, Canada, the United States, and Zimbabwe although I’m sure it’s more prevalent in more countries than any government would like to admit.

Joe Rehyansky, a retired official at the Chattanooga, Tennessee, District Attorney’s office, wrote an op-ed for The Daily Caller(right wing news blog).  In his piece Mr Rehyansky detailed his solution to dealing with any lesbian soldiers in the U.S. Military:

My solution would get the distaff part of our homosexual population off our collective “Broke Back,” thus giving straight male GIs a fair shot at converting lesbians and bringing them into the mainstream.

The Daily Caller has since removed this line from the op-ed but the rhetoric can still be seen by reading the article as it remains.`~Views Across the Pond Joe Rehyansky advocates ‘corrective rape’ for US lesbian soldiers.

They are so afraid that the lesbians will outsource their manhood that they assume, in their ignorance, that they can persuade them otherwise. Let’s ask Joe how long it would take to persuade him to be a homosexual by tossing him into prison.

In a continent so full of danger and brutality, violent persuasion is nothing new. Because of the negative view on homosexuals, little is done to protect them. Corrective Rape, where ever it occurs is probably the worst form of torture a woman could endure and it should be stopped. There are men who have raped in the past who search for forgiveness because they are pressured into something that is almost a social “norm.” That “norm” must change for the sake of all women. That “norm,” sculpts future rapists. There is no excuse for the pain they caused, but there is hope that if they can see what they have done, they may be able to enact change in others.

1. Di Silvio, Lorenzo, Correcting Corrective Rape: Carmichele and Developing South Africa’s Affirmative Obligations To Prevent Violence Against Women (June 8, 2011). Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 99, No. 5, p. 1469, 2011. Available at SSRN:

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Do you know of a story about Corrective Rape? Did you ever even hear about this before now? Please comment and let me know what you think.


Add yours →

  1. I have heard of this before. And it makes me horribly sick and angry every time. If anyone thinks that this actually works should ask themselves if rape by same-sex would turn them homosexual. Obviously not. The other thing they overlook is that rape will turn anyone off from sex. If it changes their minds at all, it will make them more hateful of the other sex and thus push them further into the lesbian side. What they are doing are just making stronger lesbians who need therapy to get over this rape.

    • It was something that was “new” to me. I knew that rape was prevalent in Africa, but the thought of rape being “Corrective” is just the pinnacle of ignorance. This is an area where lack of healthy father figures and active authority makes a huge difference.
      A large portion of these crimes are committed by teenagers at the prodding of other teens. The fear of being labeled a homosexual drives many boys to give in to their peers to prove them wrong. The sad part is that this young star lived in a very liberal part of south Africa and still was “taught a lesson,” a horrible lesson that cost her her life.

  2. What shocked me recently is the Shock Jock on radio in the U.S. who told a man complaining that his daughter had kissed another girl ( no context given for the kiss) that he should let one of his friends rape her ‘straight’. If this can go out over public radio and allow someone to think it’s OK to say and do this, then I give up hope here and now of tolerance ever winning out.

    • One must wonder what kind of upbringing creates that kind of mentality. Who would ever think it’s ok to brutalize their own daughter to “teach” her a lesson? Or to brutalize anyone’s daughter for that matter? The sad part is that they don’t realize that the fault lies within their system of thinking and intolerance. I understand that people may not like gays, may not agree with thier lifestyle and may never accept it. That is fine with me because, honestly there are many lifestyle choices I’m not ok with but I am not going to point my finger and tell them what to do unless it affects me in some deep way. I just wish people would take the time to solve more things with love than with hate.

      • Whilst I agree with everything you say, what leaves me stunned is that it’s considered OK to leave someone like that in Post. Where are the disgusted masses saying he must pay the price of his intolerance. Where are those people saying the Pastor must never be allowed to preach to another congregation and for the sake of all children should be sterilised before he has any? Are people starting to believe these things are OK to say and do?

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