LESBIAN RAPE SUSPECT APPEARS IN COURT

Millicent Gaika displays her wounds.

A man has appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court after he allegedly raped and brutally beat a lesbian for five hours on the weekend in Gugulethu, in the Western Cape.

According to the Argus, the as-yet-unamed 43 year old man is accused of attacking Millicent Gaika at around 11pm last Friday night. She had apparently known him for years and he had never previously displayed any animosity towards her.

Gaika claims that after the two shared a cigarette, he locked her in his room. “He started hitting me and I fought back. Then he started doing what he did to me. He pulled off my clothes and pushed me down on the bed. He did it more than once. He was holding me down, strangling me and pushing his hands hard on to my neck,” she told the newspaper.

“I thought he was going to kill me; he was like an animal. And he kept saying: ‘I know you are a lesbian. You are not a man, you think you are, but I am going to show you, you are a woman. I am going to make you pregnant. I am going to kill you.’”

About five hours later neighbours heard Gaika’s screams, kicked down the door and confronted and assaulted the man, holding him until police arrived.

Gaika’s face was described as “swollen and bruised” with stitches above her left eye and open wounds on her neck. She was previously raped by four men in 2002.

On Tuesday, a group of activists protested outside the court, urging the authorities not to grant bail to the suspect. The case, and a decision on bail, was postponed until April 13. The suspect will remain in custody in the hospital section of Pollsmoor Prison to tend to his wounds.

Gaika is being assisted in her recovery by the Lulekisiswe Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women’s Project.

Activists have warned that the spate “corrective rapes” of lesbians in South Africa is reaching crisis proportions. According to a recent report, rape is fast becoming the most widespread hate crime targeted against gay women in townships across South Africa.

One lesbian and gay support group says that it is dealing with 10 new cases of lesbian women being targeted for “corrective rape” every week in Cape Town alone.

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