Raped girl ‘was open about sexuality’
Johannesburg - A 13-year-old girl became the latest victim of “corrective rape,” South African media reported on Saturday, as the trend of violent attacks on lesbians showed no signs of letting up.
“Government condemns this senseless and cowardly act of criminality,” spokesman Tlali Tlali said in a statement from the department of justice and constitutional development.
“Gay and lesbian rights are human and constitutional rights which must be protected and respected at all times,” Tlali added, promising a police investigation and assistance to the girl and her family.
The latest victim was said to have been open about her sexuality and was raped on Thursday in Pretoria, presumably as an act of “corrective rape” - so called, when men rape a woman to try to “fix” her homosexual orientation.
Last month, Noxolo Nogwaza, a well known activist, was found murdered in an attack that appeared to have been motivated by her being a lesbian.
“The vicious nature of the assault is a potent reminder that these attacks are premeditated, planned, and often committed with impunity,” said Dipika Nath, a researcher with Human Rights Watch.
The human rights group has urged South Africa's government to more strongly condemn such acts and move toward protecting gays and lesbians.
“If the police and other state officials do not act swiftly, it will only be a matter of time before they have to account for their failure to the family and friends of the next lesbian who is beaten and killed,” said Nath earlier this week.
South Africa is seen as having very progressive laws, which including recognising gay marriages, but rights groups worry that not enough protection is offered to those in need and justice for victims moves too slowly.
This week, government, parliamentarians and civil society groups held their first official meeting on the issue in Cape Town, which ended with the formation of a task force to better address the problem. - Sapa-dpa