United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has denounced the rape of women and men who are, or appear to be, lesbian or gay.
In a statement issued over the weekend, Pillay said that “corrective” or “punitive” rape, which victimizes lesbians and gays because of their sexual orientation is “part of a wider pattern of sexual violence, and combines a fundamental lack of respect for women, [in particular], with deeply entrenched homophobia.”
“All rape is repugnant and constitutes a serious crime that can never be condoned or excused,” said Pillay.
Pillay cited a 2009 report by Action Aid, a charity organization, which includes testimony from 15 female survivors of “corrective” or “punitive” rape in South Africa.
In each case, the victims interviewed believed that they had been targeted specifically because of their sexuality.
Their attackers told their victims that they were simply teaching them “a lesson,” “doing them a favor,” and “punishing” or “treating” them for their homosexuality.
Pillay added that “while ‘corrective' or ‘punitive' rape has become associated primarily with South Africa, the problem is not restricted to any one country.”
Pillay cited violent hate crimes committed against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons in all parts of the world, with some of the “particularly horrifying” incidents reported recently in the United States and the United Kindom, among others.
In the latest reported attack, a 13-year-old girl was raped in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria last on May 4. During the assault, her attacker reportedly boasted that he would ‘cure' her of lesbianism.
In late April, the disfigured body of lesbian activist Noxolo Nogwaza was found in an alley in KwaThema, near Johannesburg. She had been raped and killed, apparently after an argument with men who had tried to proposition her girlfriend.