South Africa: Interrogating the notion of ‘corrective rape’
2011-11-27, Issue 559
Recent media reports have shown a rise in attacks against lesbian women in townships across South Africa. The nature of the violence includes assault, often with grievous bodily harm, rape, murder or any combination of these. The sexual violence perpetrated against these women has become a particular focal point in media coverage, crudely termed ‘corrective’ or ‘curative rape’. This Consultancy Africa Intelligence (CAI) brief argues that contemporary media and the public should rethink their understanding of ‘corrective rape’ and the discourse used to engage this notion. The paper problematises the language of ‘corrective rape’, arguing that it inadvertently further reinforces and re-inscribes patriarchal, heterosexist and racist power through its construction of the phenomenon as sexual violence inflicted by black township men against black lesbian women.