The New Yorker covers violence against lesbians in South Africa


Charlayne Hunter-Gault, an African-American reporter based in South Africa, has penned a piece in this week’s New Yorker, titled “Violated Hopes” (subscription required) that covers sexual violence directed against black South African lesbians. Hunter-Gault frames the piece on the experiences of lesbian women in townships in Johannesburg and Cape Town, interviewing several women who have experienced sexual violence at the hands of men. Since 1998, over thirty cases of South African lesbians murdered in connection to their sexual orientation have been documented, many of which included sexual assault at the hands of men ostensibly to ‘cure’ lesbian sexuality, a practice described as ‘corrective rape.’ Following several women activists in organizations including the Ekurhuleni Pride Organising Committee (EPOC) close to Johannesburg, Hunter-Gault explores how citizens daily confront the challenges of living in a country with a culture of violence, acknowledging that South Africa has one of the world’s highest murder and rape statistics.

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