February 15, 2011
Success for South African anti-rape campaign
A small group of lesbian activists have won a meeting with South Africa’s Justice Ministry after their campaign against corrective rape went viral. Anti-rape charity Luleki Sizwe obtained massive international support for an online petition targeting lawmakers.
“Corrective rape” is a term used to describe the rape of a lesbian or bisexual woman by a man who intends to “cure” her sexuality. Rape is endemic in South Africa, with over two-thirds of men in Gauteng admitting to having committed rape in a recent survey.
Behind the Mask reports that representatives from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development have confirmed that they will meet with members of Luleki Sizwe. It is anticipated that the campaigners will work with lawyers and officials to prepare an action plan for tackling corrective rape.
“We have a constitutional lawyer who is helping us to draft a bill which we will deliver to parliamentarians, so, that is where Luleki Sizwe and the call for corrective rape to be declared a hate-crime, stands at the moment”, said Ndumie Funda, the charity’s founder.
The Change.org petition that led to the meeting was started by Billi du Preez, a volunteer with Luleki Sizwe. It calls upon the Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to acknowledge and condemn the high rate of corrective rape, develop resources to combat homophobia in schools, ensure that perpetrators are appropriately punished, and provide support for survivors.
The petition is the largest ever hosted by Change.org, with over 140,000 signatures to date. It led to numerous complaints from the Justice Ministry’s chief of staff about the sheer volume of email that was generated.
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