Member of Free Gender, a lesbian organisation based in Khayelitsha marched to Harare police station to highlight what it says is the unfair treatment of rape survivors in Khayelitsha Police stations. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)
Member of Free Gender, a lesbian organisation based in Khayelitsha marched to Harare police station to highlight what it says is the unfair treatment of rape survivors in Khayelitsha Police stations. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Lesbian activists march to Khayelitsha police station over treatment of rape victims

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Apr 29, 2021

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Cape Town - Member of Free Gender, a lesbian organisation based in Khayelitsha marched to Harare police station on Wednesday to highlight what it said was an unfair treatment of rape survivors in Khayelitsha police stations.

The organisation demanded the police station to give full information to survivors when they open cases, transportation of rape victims in the evening after medical checks to avoid sleeping at Thuthuzela centre, waiting for detectives.

They also demanded the investigating officers to meet survivors in the Harare police station where the cases are opened.

Free Gender chairperson Lwethu Kala said numerous memorandums were submitted to the police station with no outcomes, while rape survivors faced secondary victimisation from the police processes.

“On August 2020, Constance, a lesbian, was raped at eNdlovini and the rapist was caught by the community and handed over to Harare police station but was released without any contact with the victim.

“On November 26, she was called at Site B at 8am by the investigating officer but the investigating officer never arrived. It was only after she sought help that a statement was obtained in January 2021 and is still waiting for justice. She has received no calls and no update from the investigating officer.

“We believed that if all these cases were handled in Harare police station, it would be easy for the families and survivors to follow up their cases without any confusion and that has not been the case,” said Kala.

Harare Community Policing Forum chairperson Funeka Soldaat said there was more that police could do to improve its services to the LGBTQIA+ community.

“We believe that if the services were offered in one roof it would be easy to follow up on the cases. Having the FCS (Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences) unit in Site B while a statement is taken in Harare has created a lot of confusion with loss of hope.

“They are not told that cases are transferred to Site B and this and that is worrying considering the rampant sexual victimisation of lesbians in our community. They are targeted because some men want to prove a point that homosexuality can be corrected.

“Police need training on ensuring that they treat rape cases from the LGBTQIA+ with utmost professionalism that it deserves,” she said.

Harare police station communications officer Nosiphiwo Mtengwane said the station was not aware of what transpires after rape victims were sent to Thuthuzela centres as sexual assault cases were transferred to Site B police station.

She said the police management would study the memorandum and revert back about the demands within seven days.

Cape Argus

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