Corrective Rape

Clare Carter

2011 - 2012

Corrective Rape explores the hate crime against the LGBTI community in South Africa. With the apartheid only a recent memory, the new constitution, implemented in 1996 was committed to giving equal rights to the whole nation. South Africa became the fifth country in the world, the first in Africa, to legalize same-sex marriage. However this new constitution has only exacerbated some people’s homophobic inclinations and could not erase deeply held biases and hatred towards the LGBTI community. I began to create a visual storyboard of what I discovered in the South African townships where homophobia is rife.

By photographing the survivors, scenes of the crime, including evidence and death certificate I wanted to provide a comprehensive study of this hate-crime taking place in South Africa today.

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  • In 2007, Hlengiwe was repeatedly raped by the her uncle. Although he supported her financially, paying her school fees and feeding her, he did not support her choice of lifestyle and claimed by repeatedly forcing her to have sex with him he was trying to change her.

  • In 2004 Simphiwe’s uncle tried to arrange a marriage for her. He took her to his friend’s house where she was raped and beaten. Her uncle’s friend took her home the next day saying it was impossible, and that he could not marry her. Two months later Simphiwe found out she was pregnant from the attack and she called her child Happiness. In 2008 a priest from a local village wanted told Simphiwe’s friend, “I will prove that this girl is not a man.” He forced his way into her house and raped her. Months later Simphiwe discovered she was pregnant from this attack and named her child Blessing.

  • After Nono Ntshangan’s cousin discovered she was a lesbian, he raped her each time he saw her. She had his daughter in 2000. "He never approved of me being a lesbian, he always wanted me to be a girl."
    After the last incident Nono went to the hospital and discovered she was pregnant. “I told my Aunt what had happened and my family dismissed it. They never approved of me being a lesbian, they always wanted me to be a girl.”

  • In June 2011, Noxolo Nkosana was walking home when she heard homophobic taunts by a group of guys behind her. “They attacked me because I am a lesbian. They were saying fucking tomboy, fucking lesbian, accusing me of taking their girls. They said they were trying to ‘teach me a lesson.’”

  • In December 2009, Zukiswa Gaca left a party to buy cigarettes. A man she had just met accompanied her. He led her to a shack where someone was sleeping.
    "He said he was going to show me I was a woman so he took off his pants and put a blanket over the man sleeping on the bed. He raped me in front of his friend who just lay there under the blanket."

  • Eudy Simelane’s was a well know soccer player, who was training to be a referee for the 2010 World Cup. In April 2008, her body was found in a park in Kwa-Thema outside of Johannesburg. She was gang raped and stabbed 25 times. Two of the four men on trial were convicted. This was the first ever conviction of a so-called corrective rape.

  • In 2004 when Pearl Mali was12-years-old she was raped for the first time by an elderly man that her mother brought home from church. He raped Pearl in her own bedroom, which he did daily until she was 16 years old. “My mother didn’t want me to be gay so she asked him to move in and be my husband. She hoped it would change me.”

  • In May 2011, Khumalo was raped and murdered in Kwamashu township in Durban. Her ex-boyfriend later confessed to the crime, stating that he had killed her because he could not accept that she had left him for another woman.

    Kwamushu Township photographed.

  • In 2001, Tebogo Motswagi was at tavern and followed in to the bathroom. He was raped by seven men and penetrated with a broomstick.
    “I was too afraid of the police to open a case. When you go to the police and you are a man and you tell them you have been raped they laugh at you. They say what sort of a man gets raped.”

  • Khayelitsha outside of Cape Town is reputed to be the largest and fastest growing township in South Africa. The name is translated from Xhosa meaning “New Home”

  • Lungile stands in a field were she and a friend were raped by gunpoint in February 2010. "He started saying he was going to show us that we are women and we are not men. He undressed us first and then tied our hands and feet. I remember thinking, please not again, because my dad had raped me when I was seven.”

  • In April 2011, the uncle of a close friend abducted and raped Zanele Jonas. He told her, "I am going to show you what it is to be a woman." During the attack, he used a pool cue to repeatedly penetrate her.

  • In 2011, Noxolo Nogwasa's body was found in an alleyway in the Kwa-Thema township of Johannesburg. She was brutally raped. She was found mutilated and unrecognizable; her were eyes pulled from their sockets; her brain was split open; and her teeth were scattered around her body. Her mother sits by her grave.

  • In June 2010, Lindeka was attacked while walking home. A man slammed her head into a nearby wall with a heavy crate. Two weeks later, the same man struck her on the back of the head with a bar. “You are a girl not a boy,” he said to her. “You are not meant to be with other girls. I am going to beat you until you stop what you are doing with other girls."