In a shocking incident, a 15-year-old lesbian girl fell victim to a so-called “corrective rape” hate crime near Vanderbijlpark in the Vaal area.
The attack occurred in the early hours of November 4 in Muvhango, with reports reaching MambaOnline only recently.
The term corrective or homophobic rape has been used to describe a hate crime in which a queer person is raped because of their sexuality or gender expression, as punishment and often with the stated aim of turning the person heterosexual.
Motivated by Prejudice
Sidwell Lengatsa from the Vuka People’s Rainbow Movement and the LGBTQI+ Community Forum in Emfuleni indicated that the assailant’s motivations were allegedly rooted in prejudice.
“As per the statement from the victim’s mother and the minor herself, the accused’s intention was to stop her from being lesbian,” he told MambaOnline.
The attacker is also reported to have torn off the girl’s rainbow arm bracelet as an expression of hatred towards LGBTQI+ individuals.
Wrote School Exams Despite Traumatic Incident
The victim reported the case to the Boipatong Police Station, and she was promptly taken to a Thuthuzela Care Centre for examination.
Despite the traumatic experience, the teenager, who will receive counselling, managed to complete her school exams before the end of the term.
The suspect, identified as a man in his late 20s, remains at large nearly two months after the incident, as the investigation is still ongoing.
Concerns over Police Handling
Expressing dismay at the police response, Lengatsa raised concerns about the “interrogation” of the victim by a police officer immediately after the incident, leaving her fearful and reluctant to pursue the case.
Lengatsa, however, thanked supportive members of the Family Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS), as well as a local community radio station that referred the victim to the LGBTQI+ organisations.
“We are following up on the case and are awaiting feedback from the FCS captain on whether all measures were followed by the constable handling the case,” said Lengatsa.
The Vaal area has sadly been a hotspot for hate crimes against the LGBTQI+ community. In a tragic incident earlier this year, the remains of Nomvula Chenene, a missing lesbian since December 2022, were discovered buried under a shack in Lakeside, near Vereeniging.
“We condemn the continuation of hate by the Vaal community who still feel entitled to rape or murder us simply for being LGBTQI+,” expressed Lengatsa.