There is encouraging news from South Africa. The man convicted in the brutal assault and "corrective rape" of a lesbian near Cape Town has been sentenced to two decades behind bars, reports the Cape Times.
Andile Ngcoza ... was sentenced to 22 years in jail [on Tuesday]. Ngcoza was convicted in 2011 for the rape of Millicent Gaika, a lesbian woman from Gugulethu. He pulled Gaika into a shack on April 2, 2010 and said he would show her she was a woman by impregnating her. Sentencing was initially scheduled for December 2011 but Ngcoza was not in custody at the time. He was rearrested in September, nearly two years after he was found guilty.
[Prosecutors] said Ngcoza had three previous sexual offence convictions – he had been convicted of rape twice in 1988 and of sodomy in 1982. [The victim] indicated she had suffered severe emotional trauma as a result. Millicent Gaika had nightmares and the attack had “driven her to alcohol abuse”. She had nearly committed suicide last year.
Reports did not indicate why the defendant was not in police custody after his conviction. Jail and prison escapes have unfortunately become routine in South Africa. Four of the nine men accused of the brutal February 2006 murder of 19-year also escaped from police custody and were later caught, for example.
Same-sex acts are currently illegal in at least 38 of 54 African countries. Four nations—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—boast the death penalty for gays or same-sex activity. South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. South Africa is also the only African nation to guarantee marriage equality and gay adoption.
Despite these protections, the reality is quite harsh for many Black LGBT South Africans. Life in the impoverished townships is far less tolerant. Lesbians, gay men and transgender men and women are often targeted by violent attacks. Brutal so-called "corrective rape" and murder are increasing against lesbians in the townships, as well as rape and attacks against gay men and transgender women. South Africa has the world's highest rates of crime rates and rape. A rape is committed every 17 seconds in South Africa, according to Interpol.
"In a country of 49 million people, around 50,000 rapes are reported each year," reports Al Jazeera. "Alongside the official figures is the alarming statistic that just one in nine women actually report a sexual offence to the police. Victims are often ridiculed by the police, cases are seldom properly investigated and nine out of every 10 men arrested go free."
An estimated "510 women report being the victims of “corrective” rape every year in South Africa and [at least] 31 lesbians have been murdered over the past 10 years because of their sexual orientation," according to South African human rights activist Ndumie Funda.
The SA government announced in May 2011 that it would establish a task force to address the escalating incidents of anti-LGBT attacks in its nation. That announcement came only weeks after the brutal death of Noxolo Nogwaza attracted international attention. The 19-year-old lesbian "was gang raped, stoned and stabbed to death using shards of broken glass." Noxolo’s murder remains unsolved and the violence and attacks have continued. Meanwhile: A gang of brutal robbers and serial killers have targeted gay men around Johannesburg and Cape Town over the past three and a half years. At least nine men have been killed.
You May Want to Read:
SAFRICA: Police Arrest New Suspect in Serial Killings
SAFRICA: Trial Date in Murder of LGBT Activist
SAFRICA: Arrest in Brutal Murder and Mutilation
SAFRICA: No Arrests After Brutal Murder
SAFRICA: Gay Man Slain in Brutal Attack
ANC Refuses to Strip Gay Rights
SAFRICA: One Arrest in Gay Serial Killings
SAFRICA: More Fears of a Serial Killer, Another Gay Killed
SAFRICA: Police Deny Reports of Serial Killer
RSA: 5 Gay Men Killed, Serial Killer Suspected
SAfrica to Fight Hate Crimes and "Corrective Rape"
Mixed Verdict in Murder Trial of SA Lesbian Footballer
3 Men on Trial for Murder of Lesbian SA Footballer
Black Gay Men in SA Targeted for Rape, Abuse\
SAFRICA: Murdered Lesbian's Body Discovered in Trash Bin