'Corrective rape' at schools

2008-03-12 21:13

Johannesburg - Corrective rape, where a male pupil rapes a female lesbian pupil to "make her heterosexual", was a growing phenomenon in schools, the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said in a report released on Wednesday.

A gay and lesbian rights group told the commission during public hearings that homosexual pupils experienced "high levels of prejudice" at school resulting in "exclusion, marginalisation and victimisation".

"There is a growing phenomenon of corrective rape. This refers to an instance where a male learner rapes a lesbian female learner in the belief that after such a sexual attack the learner will no longer be lesbian," the report said.

It said homophobia fuelled discrimination against gay and lesbian pupils in South African schools.

"Within the school environment there is a clear need to place the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) issues within a human rights framework and to engage religious values."

OUT, a gay and lesbian rights NGO, was involved in training programmes and policy development to curb violence against homosexual pupils.

The organisation told the commission there were high drop-out rates among LGBT pupils and discrimination against them often led to suicide and substance abuse.

During public hearings the commission was informed that xenophobia also contributed toward violent incidents in South African schools.

"... (in) particularly those schools that attract non-national learners. In these schools, discrimination on the grounds of ethnic, racial or social origin may well be a contributing factor to the violence."