Feb 022013
 

 

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Raped and stabbed 28 times.

Eudy Simelane was an acclaimed star in South Africa’s Banyana Banya national soccer team.  Her partially clothed body revealed that she had been gang-raped, brutally beaten and stabbed twenty-five times.  This happened in April, 2008, but the criminal system took years to lead to its first conviction of what lesbians are calling a hate crime.

Eudy was not only one of South Africa’s best known soccer players was also a voracious equal rights campaigner and lived openly as a lesbian in Kwa Thema, a township near Johannesburg.

 

Her brutal murder took place in 2008, and since then a tide of violence against lesbians in South Africa has continued to rise. Human rights advocates say it is characterized by what they call “corrective rape” committed by men behind the guise of trying to “cure” lesbians of their sexual orientation.  This is not an isolated incident. The South African Human Rights Commission is challenging the legal system to treat it as a hate crime and provide a separate crime category to investigate the extent of ‘corrective rapes.’

When asked about the increasing rape of both straight and lesbian women,Carrie Shelver, of women’s rights group Powa, a South African NGO said.

“So you have to look at the increasingly macho culture, which seeks to oppress women and sees them as merely sexual beings. So when there is a lesbian woman she is an absolute affront to this kind of masculinity.”

Police are not doing their job as in the case of another brutal double rape and murder of lesbian couple Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Massooa in July 2007 attacks. Sigasa and Massooa were tortured, gang raped and shot near their homes in Meadowland, Soweto in July 2007, shortly after being verbally abused outside a bar.

Despite more than 30 reported murders of lesbians in the last decade, Simelane’s trial has produced the first conviction, when one man who pleaded guilty to her rape and murder was jailed last month.

On sentencing, the judge said that Simelane’s sexual orientation had “no significance” in her killing.

We should not let her death fall through the  cracks.  Voice your anger to the South African Criminal Justice System or to South African Tourism.  The latter is where the tourist dollars pour in – “Can I as a gay person feel safe visiting your country?”

 

 

 

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