T/W violence, rape, murder
There is now, an alarming trend of violence against lesbians in Kenya, following a string of assault cases during the last couple of months. In South Africa, the LGB community is increasingly becoming vigilant after rising murders of lesbians and gay men over the last couple of months.
An assault case against a lesbian was reported this week in Naivasha. Human rights activist Kate Kamunde, termed this recent incidence as heartbreaking. On her twitter handle, she said that is was sad that “these cases mostly go unreported and we let criminals go scot free.”
Last month, a lesbian was reported to have committed suicide in Nakuru, after having been stabbed by her partner, an incidence which led to her being outed to her parents. She was then locked up at her parent’s house, married off to an older ‘family friend’ and being impregnated.
There was yet another double suicide of a lesbian couple in Kisumu after being raped, to apparently, ‘correct their sexuality’.
“Corrective rape”—an assault in which a man rapes a lesbian in an attempt to “cure” her sexual orientation is a gruesome crime. A lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activist organization in Capetown says that it deals with as many as ten such incidents every week.
Since 1998, at least thirty-one lesbians have been killed in attacks that were motivated by their sexual orientation and many of which began with corrective rape in South African . Few arrests have been made despite the country’s constitution explicitly forbidding discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
South Africa repelled criminalization of same sex activity in 2009 and is the only African country that recognizes same sex marriage. Section 9 (3) of its Constitution also expressly prohibits unfair discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
It reads: “The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.”
Violence against women, any woman, is wrong and unacceptable. Though law enforcement agencies like the police are sometimes blamed for ignoring these cases, a lot of them also go unreported as the victims are afraid that their sexuality will be revealed during investigations and subsequent litigation.
It does take a long time to change a nation’s culture, even with the best laws in the land, but we must denounce violence against women, more so, those that suffer double stigma of discrimination and violence because they are of a minority sexual orientation.