The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) says that the phenomenon of “corrective rape” of lesbian students is a growing occurrence in schools in South Africa.

The claim was made in a report on school-based violence released by the SAHRC on Wednesday in Johannesburg.

Corrective rape describes a scenario in which a male rapes a lesbian, ostensibly in order to “make her” heterosexual.

The report included findings by the Tshawane-based organisation OUT LGBT Health, and concluded that there are “high levels of prejudice” against lesbians and gays in South African schools, who face “exclusion, marginalisation and victimisation.”

“Within the school environment there is a clear need to place the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] issues within a human rights framework and to engage religious values,” said the report.

In public hearings in 2006, OUT also told the SAHRC that prejudice against LGBT students resulted in a high school drop-out rate, suicide and substance abuse.

The findings form part of a distressing picture of violent and dangerous school environments for all students: “Learners now seem more willing and able to employ physically aggressive methods to resolve conflicts. Knives, weapons and handguns appear to be more readily used than before.”

According to the report, “It would appear that being at school is more dangerous for children than being anywhere else.”

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