South Africa – Two men who are alleged to have brutally raped a young KwaZulu-Natal woman who identifies as a lesbian have been released on bail reports the Gay & Lesbian Network (GLN).

The 17-year-old girl from Watersmeet, just outside of Ladysmith, who is open about her sexual orientation, was viciously attacked and raped last month by two men who reside near her home.

This is the third time in her young life that she has been raped by men who believe that raping a lesbian will ‘turn her heterosexual’ and make her ‘a real woman’.

 This is known as ‘corrective rape; the use of rape against people who do not conform to perceived social norms regarding human sexuality or gender roles. According to GLN, this means the rape was premeditated, intentional and accompanied by malicious intent.

The bail hearing for the alleged rapists – one is 22-years-old and the other is 20-years-old – has been continuously postponed. On Monday (4 December 2017), they were eventually granted bail by the Magistrates Court in Ladysmith, at a sum that GLN described as a “measly R1,000 each” (75$).

Appallingly, it is alleged that this is the second time that one of the alleged perpetrators has raped the victim.

The GLN team, as well as members of the LGBTI+ community, were at the court on Monday to support the young woman, raise awareness and advocate for justice to be served.

GLN, which has provided the victim with counselling, said it was “deeply saddened by this news”. The group has reported the case to the National Task Team and the Rapid Response Team, both of which respond to LGBTI+ hate crimes.

A hate crime is an offence in which a person is motivated on the basis of that person’s prejudice, bias or intolerance towards the victim of the hate crime in question because of one or more characteristics or perceived characteristics of the victim.

“One needs to take into account the nature of the rights of the victim and the nature of the crime; the severity of the emotional and psychological damage, as well as the fact that the impact of hate crimes and hate speech extend beyond the victim, and to the group to which the victim belongs or is perceived to belong,” said GLN Director Anthony Waldhausen.

The trial is set to resume on 26 January.

 

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