A Mitchells Plain man has alleged that he was abused, beaten and raped at a Cape Flats rehabilitation centre because he is gay.
According to the Daily Voice, 36-year-old Aasim (not his real name) entered a programme at the Akhbar Rehabilitation Centre in Schaapkraal eight months ago to treat his addiction to heroin.
Aasim, who is openly gay, eventually became a counsellor at the centre. He claims that things turned sour when he was ‘caught’ holding hands with a new client with whom he became friends.
“We were told to end the friendship and people were assigned to watch me and this person,” he said.
Aasim alleges that he was then beaten “blue and black” with a sjambok. This was followed by a “night of torture” on 30 January, in which he was woken at midnight and ordered to stay in his underwear.
He claims that water mixed with human faeces was thrown over him, after which he was forced into a pool with other clients.
“The one who we called ‘the father of the house’ placed my head under the water and it felt like I was going to pass out,” Aasim said.
“Then they ordered me to get out and told the one client to stand behind me and to grind me with his penis. The other, they said, must shove his penis in my mouth. These men were forced to do it by the ‘father’.”
The clients were also allegedly ordered to shout insults at Aasim, including that he didn’t come to rehab for his addiction “but to do boys”.
Aasim escaped from the centre and has laid a charge of rape with the Philippi Police Station. In South Africa, the definition of rape is any form of sexual penetration without consent, including in the mouth, and irrespective of gender.
Because the alleged attack was based on Aasim’s sexual orientation, it would have been legally categorised as a hate crime if a pending hate crimes bill had been enacted by Parliament.
A 2003 study by OUT LGBT Well-Being and the University of South Africa Centre for Applied Psychology (UCAP) found that “the percentage of black gay men who said they have experienced corrective rape matched that of the black lesbians who partook in the study”.