A lesbian woman has been charged with assault after, she claims, she defended herself against a man who allegedly tried to rape her.
Inkanyiso.org reported that 30-year-old Sonto Mokoena was celebrating the New Year on the 1st of January with friends and family when they decided to buy more alcohol.
Mokoena went with one of the revellers to his house so that he could fetch money to help pay for the drinks. Once inside, the ‘friend’ surprised her by locking the door.
“I immediately asked why. He responded by saying ‘Just give me one round of sex, girls won’t satisfy you.’ I was so shocked because this is someone I trusted and he never gave me any sign he could do that,” Mokoena told the blog.
She said that a struggle ensued and as the man tried to overpower her she broke a bottle and stabbed him in the hand, allowing her to escape.
Mokoena reported the matter to the police, who joked that she was “a woman who stabs men”. Officers accompanied her to the man’s house where they found his mother cleaning up.
The next day Mokoena was asked to return to the police station where she was summarily locked up and charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
She was granted bail of R500 and was released after spending a day in jail. Mokoena claims, however, that “I opened my case first but the process is moving faster in the case against me.”
According to activist Virginia Magwaza Setshedi, the as yet unnamed man is set to appear in court today while Mokoena will face the assault charges on 28 January.
Another lesbian women, who had been raped twice before, is facing murder charges after she also allegedly defended herself and killed a man who she says tried to rape her in late 2012 in Pietermaritzburg.
The latest incident in Soweto comes as Britain’s The Independent published a scathing indictment of South Africa’s response to the so called ‘corrective rape’ crisis.
American Clare Carter, who travelled across South Africa to photograph and interview victims, says that the hate crime epidemic is escalating in severity.
“Even in the two years I was there the stories I was hearing were getting worse,” she told the newspaper. “Corrective rape is getting more violent.”
According to various reports from NGOs, at least 31 lesbian women have been murdered in South Africa because of their sexuality or gender identity since 1998.
South Africa is also said to be the rape capital of the world with around 500,000 rapes cases a year. However, because hate crimes are not currently recognised or identified as such under South African law there are no accurate statistics on the murder or corrective rape of lesbian women or women perceived to be lesbian.
In September, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffrey, said that a hate crime bill is expected to be tabled in parliament soon after this year’s elections.
Jeffrey said that the legislation would allow the authorities to track the extent and impact of hate crimes and that it will also “send a clear message that hate crimes will not be tolerated in South Africa”.