Phumla and two friends were driving home from soccer practice with two men from their township. “Instead of taking us home, they took us to a place out of town … [One of the men] grabbed me and dragged me into a house where there was another man waiting.
“All the time they were telling me that I needed to be taught a lesson, that I wasn’t a man. I was a girl and I needed to start acting like one,” said Phumla, who identifies as lesbian. “I blamed myself for the rape. I did not tell anyone.”
Phumla’s story forms part of ActionAid’s report titled Hate Crimes: The Rise of “Corrective” Rape in South Africa, and is one of the many stories from South Africa, and Africa as a whole, about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) people being subjected to violence and abuse.
The justifications for this are usually that homosexuality is unnatural, that women should behave like women (and men like men), that they choose to be deviant and can be taught to behave differently, and that homosexuality is contagious. These are also the reasons given for why countries such as Uganda and Russia promulgate anti-gay laws: to protect children and the citizenry from what is seen as an unnatural blight.
But these prejudices have no basis in science, according to a 13-author, multidisciplinary report by the Academy of Sciences of South Africa titled Diversity in Human Sexuality: Implications for Policy in Africa.
For more, find the article — originally published in Mail & Guardian — here.