Man guilty of ‘corrective rape’ of lesbian loses appeal on life sentence

A man who subjected a lesbian woman to ‘corrective rape‘ lost his appeal to reduce his life sentence last week.

Zabathini Jonas, 34, from Petrusville in South Africa, appealed his 2015 conviction of two counts of rape.

In 2010, Jonas ambushed the 24-year-old unidentified woman from Petrusville, who was living openly as a lesbian at the time. He then threatened her with a knife and raped her for a total of two hours, according to IOL.

Prison cell

Photo: Pixabay

Judge Violet Phatshoane from the Northern Cape High Court dismissed his appeal last week.

‘Gender-based violence has no place in our constitutional dispensation,’ she said in her ruling of the appeal. ‘The gay and lesbian community are entitled to equal enjoyment of all rights and freedom as entrenched in our Constitution like all other South Africans. They should be treated with dignity and respect.

‘They are entitled to be who they are and express themselves in any manner they wish, without fear of being ostracised and violated.

‘The so-called “corrective rape” is evil and cannot be countenanced.

‘Our courts will continue with their concerted effort to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. What [Jonas] did to the complainant was to pulverise her sense of belonging and self-expression.

‘This is repulsive and unpardonable,’ Phatshoane said.

What is corrective rape?

As first heard in the 2015 trial, Jonas knew the woman lived openly as a lesbian and wanted to ‘correct her sexual orientation’.

‘I hope I will fix her,’ he said in the 2015 trial.

Corrective rape, also known as curative or homophobic rape, is the process of trying to ‘turn’ someone heterosexual or enforce conformity to gender stereotypes by raping them.

The practise is prevalent in Africa and also some parts of Asia.

It originated from South Africa in high profile cases such as Eudy Simelane and Zoliswa Nkonyana.

In 2017, the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus released a report about the practise in Timor-Leste (or East Timor), a young nation which lies in between Australia and Indonesia.

Many of the women in the study described ways in which their families tried to convert them to heterosexuality or their assigned birth gender.

Often the tactics were cruel and unusual. Some women had to drink chicken’s blood to ‘cleanse’ them. Many of the women bore children after enduring corrective rape.

One woman revealed her family forced her to have sex with a man: ‘They pushed me inside the room with him and locked it from the outside.’

She then added: ‘He sexually assaulted me. My family believed that by doing so it will ‘correct’ my sexual orientation.’

See also

Uganda lesbian, a victim of ‘corrective rape’ and forced marriage, granted asylum in the UK

LGBTI people are frequent victims of forced marriage – now British police are cracking down

Gay woman ‘raped and abused’ by father for sexuality taking family to court


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