Thirteen-year-old the latest victim of ‘corrective rape’
Erna van Wyk
The rape of a 13-year-old openly gay girl on Thursday has sent shock waves through the country and prompted the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to release its strongest statement yet condemning “corrective rape”.
Department spokesperson Tlali Tlali said in a statement: “Government condemns this senseless and cowardly act of criminality. Gay and lesbian rights are human and constitutional rights that must be protected and respected at all times.”
The young girl was raped in Atteridgeville in Pretoria and is said to have been open about her sexual identity.
This is the latest in a trend of violent attacks on lesbians over the past month and comes only days after a meeting by gay rights activists and the justice department, which led to the establishment of a task team to look into the abhorrent practice.
Two weeks ago Noxolo Nogwaza (24) was brutally raped and stoned to death in KwaThema township outside Johannesburg because she was a lesbian.
Speaking to the blog, LezGetReal, Ndumie Funda, director of Luleleki Sizwe – the group driving a petition to have “corrective rape” declared a hate crime – said: “It kills me. It tears my heart apart. Especially because it involves a 13-year-old, who is almost an infant. It is time that the entire community stood together, including gay-friendly people, churches and leaders.
“This task team needs to act now. We cannot sit and fold our arms. We need to act ASAP. Justice is all we are asking for. This bastard needs to be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We ask the community to help the police arrest this person.”
She also called on President Jacob Zuma to speak out “in this time of sorrow”.
Tlali said a police investigation was under way and the girl and her family were being counselled.