A Northern Cape judge has dismissed an appeal by a man who was sentenced to life in prison for the so-called corrective rape of a lesbian woman.
According to Times Live, Zabathini Jonas raped the then-24-year-old Petrusville woman twice in 2010.
He admitted to the magistrate in his trial that he knew she was a lesbian and that he “wanted to correct homosexual girls.”
He also claimed to have “fixed” another woman and that he’d had sex with a “tomboy” just weeks before the rape because he loved lesbians.
The doctor who examined the victim at the time confirmed that she’d suffered extensive vaginal injuries and was extremely traumatised.
The term corrective rape has been used to describe incidents in which lesbian women are raped to “make them straight” or teach “them a lesson.” Many women have been murdered in these brutal attacks which have been widely reported in South Africa in particular.
Jonas was found guilty in 2015 on two counts of rape and was sent to jail for life.
The Diamond Fields Advertiser reported that Jonas, 34, then applied to the Northern Cape High Court in Kimberley to appeal his sentence.
Judge Violet Phatshoane, however, dismissed the appeal and described Jonas’ actions as “repulsive and unpardonable.”
“Gender-based violence has no place in our constitutional dispensation,” she said. “The gay and lesbian community are entitled to equal enjoyment of all rights and freedom as entrenched in our Constitution like all other South Africans. They should be treated with dignity and respect. They are entitled to be who they are and express themselves in any manner they wish, without fear of being ostracised and violated.”
Phatshoane continued: “The so-called ‘corrective rape’ is evil and cannot be countenanced. Our courts will continue with their concerted effort to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. What (Jonas) did to the complainant was to pulverise her sense of belonging and self-expression.”
The victim fled Petrusville and moved to the Westen Cape after the rape in a bid to escape from the trauma of her ordeal.
Roché Kester, Hate Crime Manager at OUT LGBT Well-being, welcomed the judgment by Judge Phatsoane. “This sentencing speaks to how seriously the judicial system must take crimes committed against the LGBTI community. This judgment is constitutionalism in action,” she said.
“We sympathise with the victim of this horrendous violation and hope to continue the work around education and advocacy to prevent such heinous acts of homophobia. We hope that police and courts will continue to prioritise the safety of LGBTI persons,” Kester added.