Main | Wednesday, August 26, 2009

South Africa: Trial Begins In Murder, Gang-Rape Of Lesbian Soccer Star

The trial of three men accused of the murder and gang-rape of lesbian South African soccer star Eudy Simelane has begun.
Eudy Simelane loved football. In other countries the 29-year-old who rose through the ranks to become captain of the women's national football team would have been feted as a star. In South Africa it cost her her life. The top striker, who was gay, was set upon by a gang of thugs, gang-raped and stabbed 25 times. Her sexuality and supposedly butch looks were a death sentence in a country in which the sport is still considered a man's game by many. Today, the trial of three men accused of her murder in April 2008 goes ahead after being delayed last month when a fourth man who had agreed to be a witness for the prosecution withdrew his statements at the last moment. For the gay community it is a landmark moment. In South Africa's sprawling black townships Ms Simelane was the most famous victim of an increasing trend in anti-gay violence. There, lesbians live in fear. At least 20 women have been killed in the past five years. They are often victims of a phenomenon known as "corrective rape" -- the rape of a lesbian by a man either to punish her or cure and correct her sexual orientation.
According to the director of the South Africa Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, most lesbian victims of "corrective rape" do not report their attacks.

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