Rape is a heinous crime. Next to the taking of a life, the ruinous violation of a person by the most intimate and powerful of means is arguably an act of equally sinister proportions. However, there’s a whole other level to this violation. There is a form of rape with an added and more sinister dimension. That crime, is corrective rape.
In some ways, it’s a terrible title for such a crime. The word “corrective” is generally a word with a positive feel about it, implying some sort of benefit to an action. There is no benefit when this word precedes rape. There can be no benefit to rape. In fact, the word “corrective”, in this context, is quite the opposite. It does worse than to add insult to injury, but actually introduces a second deep and soul destroying violative dimension to the already heinous act of rape.
LGBT, Queer, Intersex and Asexual people with already understand, generally, the nature of this violation, so lets look at it from the perspective of a straight person who’s never before had to consider things from the other side. Let’s also frame this from the perspective of a patriarchal culture, as is very prevalent in many parts of the world, including those nations where this issue is most prevalent.
You’re a heterosexual man… a manly man… happily going about your business. At the end of a day you catch a taxi, or a bus, or a train to make your way back to your home or hotel. A predatory and very strong woman capable of overpowering you has been watching you, and you are assaulted. You are taken aside and out of sight where you are raped – forcibly, and violently. You are violated… the person who raped you may even have infected you with HIV/AIDS.
How does it feel? Pretty awful, by most accounts. You have been violated, treated like a piece of meat, abused, assaulted, made to feel powerless, made to feel guilty, made to feel ashamed… etc. It’s not good is it? There are reasons we have laws against that. There’s a reason it’s called rape and not just “having sex”.
Well, suppose that wasn’t a woman. Suppose you, Mr Heterosexual Male, had just been raped by another man. Now how does it feel? Does it feel worse? You bet it does! If you happen to be a homophobe, it’ll be because you feel an extra sense of shame about what had just happened to you simply because you were taken by a gay man, and you’ll feel terrible for having been part of an act that you find distasteful – if so, you’re ‘lucky’, because that’s no more a sense of violation than the rape itself. On the other hand, if you’re a reasonably and decent human being, it’ll be all the worse because as well as the violation of your physical and emotional form, your identity, your sexual orientation, your very sense of who you are will also have been raped… and yet you STILL don’t have the full understanding of how creative rape feels from this exercise!
For someone who has been victim to a corrective rape, there are other issues too. There’s the prejudice they experience as LGBT people for a start… already victims of ignorance and bigotry, they are made victims of the same in a whole other way… on a deeper and more personal level. They are made victims simply because they are victims in the first place. Then of course, there’s the fact that such rapes are performed under either the excuse or genuine belief that such acts will “make the victim straight”… NO rape helps, and no, the victim will not be made straight – that is an offense to the victim yet again. Are you starting to get a vague understanding of the damage that corrective rape does?.. to women especially, being the most frequent victims of this evil crime.
We spend a lot of time speaking here at No More Lost about the UK and the USA, and while this post stands against corrective rape wherever it occurs, it refers especially to the situation in South Africa. That wonderful state where we celebrate the freedoms and achievements of Mr Nelson Mandela, where Apartheid was ended and the nation supposedly freed from bigotry and hatred. This nation that’s supposedly one of the shining stars of Africa. The nation that brought us the vuvuzela and annoyed us with them throughout the FIFA World Cup just last year.
South Africa’s Constitution was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. It was the first in Africa to legalise same sex marriage. It was the only republic to give non-heterosexual people exact equal rights until it was joined by Argentina in 2010 (Note to America – please catch up!)… and yet, the practice of corrective rape is commonplace in South Africa and has been for some time. Some reports even say that it’s often ignored! This is really not acceptable, not only because this is a discriminatory crime against gay women in violation not just of the women but of the nation’s constitution too, but also because it is rape. Yes, pure and simple, at the very minimum description of this situation, it is rape, and it needs to stop!
There is a petition (found here) on the web (in fact a few of them here and there), asking the South African Government to stop turning a blind eye to this heinous practice and indeed, their own constitution with regard to LGBT people. Please sign this petition, and please spread the word about this terrible crime against humanity.
There are an order of terrible crimes, and to many including myself rape is a far more horrific crime than murder. However there is a class of rape that is even more horrific and that is corrective rape, a crime that believes that rape can benefit someone in a female body, either of lesbian or transgender identification.
While it is not a matter of state policy in the US or the UK, it is often condoned and supported by governments such as those in Uganda.
Note, it is not the official state policy of Uganda, however it happens frequently at the hands of the police, and is rarely prosecuted when it happens at the hands of the church and the community
In South Africa, it is still at epidemic proportions, and still the South African government has yet to implement any hate crimes legislation.
Here is a petition being run by Change.org, to insist that the Justice ministry acts to correct this horrific situation.
This is not an exclusively South African problem, and occurs whenever society doesn’t like the fact that a female bodied person is true to themselves.
Story via Change.org
We’re afraid to criticize african cultural issues, because of our own genocidal activities that went on during the colonial era. The exploitation in many countries still continues today.
However having come to terms with my colonial ancestry, i find there no problem in criticizing the genocidal attitudes in Uganda. This isn’t just about David Bahati and his party, his opponents are equally homophobic, and will probably vote for the “Kill the Gays” bill.
Uganda has been convinced by the ugandan church, and by lies and deceit fed to them by the fundamentalists in the USA. They believe that being gay is a learned behavior, they believe that gay people recruit youth and that children are at threat.
Reading some of the work on Uganda done by Jeff Sharlet, i was shocked by many aspects, but the stories of three transmen and their treatment by their community and the police. The first was a man who was given an exorcism by his community church against his will. He was stripped naked and tormented in front of the congregation, before being locked away for a week, while he was raped, in an effort to convince him that he was female. The other two were two transmen who were arrested by the police because they were presenting as male, and being involved in a gay rights movement. While in police custody, both were subjected to corrective rape. This is the kind of behavior supported and condoned by the Ugandan government, and to be honest its not too far from what those on the religious right in the US would like to do…
For those of you who know me, you’ll know i consider rape to be a worse crime than murder and should be treated and punished enough, but somehow corrective rape should be even more severe. This was a state sanctioned crime, and Uganda should be made to suffer for the actions it makes. If they want to try to continue with this gay genocide, then we should act, this is no different than the ethnic cleansings of Bosnia or the pogroms of the Russian Empire and we need to act, with diplomacy, and if necessary with aid to the LGBTQA community in Uganda, including offering of asylum to any who need it.
I realize that this story and opinion does not reflect the publicly stated view of the American Right, however I do not doubt that this reflects the opinion of many in the Religious and Social Right who imagine that all a lesbian needs is “a good man”.
The idea was postulated by Joe Rehyansky, that lesbians should be allowed to serve so that the men could “show them the light”. He’s not a serving judge, but the idea that someone could publicly advocate corrective rape, and then a prominent conservative blog could publish it, I find shocking.
In some ways I feel speechless, but then again I know that sentiment still exists in so many minds…We have so many hearts and minds to change…
Found via AlterNet