A lesbian couple have been raped by three men in front of their seven-year-old daughter.
The Daily Sun reported last week that the unnamed women were attacked in their home in the rural Nkomazi area in Mpumalanga earlier this month.
The criminals, who threatened the family with guns and knives, also stole DVDs, cellphones and R500 in cash.
The women have complained that police have refused to investigate the case and instead told them to search their community for the stolen items and the weapons used in the attack.
The couple further accused officers of secondary victimisation, claiming that they were allegedly asked humiliating personal questions about their sexuality.
“These cops seem to be happy that we were raped,” one of the weeping victims told the newspaper. “The police have failed us. My daughter has since left school to move in with relatives,” she said.
The women are in hiding and LGBTI rights activists have as yet been unable to contact them.
Virginia Magwaza, from the Foundation for Human Rights, told Mambaonline that she was appalled by the women’s reported secondary victimisation; an all-too-common phenomenon faced by lesbian victims in South Africa.
“I think it’s terrible. If you are attacked, the first place you should go is the police. If they cannot protect you and uphold the country’s Constitution we have a severe problem,” she said.
Magwaza, who also works with the National Task Team on LGBTI hate crimes, said that there are efforts under-way to sensitise the police on LGBTI issues but that “we have yet to see the results.”