ESPN E:60 Presents: Exclusive Report on Corrective Rape in South Africa
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On Tuesday, May 11, at 7 p.m. ET, ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning, primetime newsmagazine E:60 will air an in-depth investigation by Jeremy Schaap on “corrective rape” in South Africa, the 2010 FIFA World Cup host nation. The background:
South Africa has the highest reported rate of rape worldwide. It’s estimated that half of all South African women will be raped in their lifetime. In a recent study, more than 25 percent of South African men admitted they had raped a woman. So-called “corrective rape” is the latest phenomenon in a country with an epidemic of sexual violence and widespread homophobia. Although South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world and is one of only seven countries in the world that allows gay marriage, 80 percent of South Africans say gay sex between same-sex partners is “always wrong” and President Jacob Zuma has called gay marriage “a disgrace to the nation and to God.”
On April 28, 2008, the mutilated body of former South Africa women’s national soccer team star Eudy Simelane was found in a creek in a park. Simelane had been gang-raped and stabbed multiple times on the way home from a tavern in Kwa Thema, a black township 30 miles outside Johannesburg. Simelane had hoped this summer to become the first woman ever to referee a match in the World Cup. Instead, she became the face of “corrective rape,” men raping gay women in order to “cure” them of their lesbianism.
Schaap, who recently won an Emmy for Sports Journalism, traveled to the impoverished, crime-ridden townships of South Africa to report on this disturbing trend. He interviewed three South African women soccer players who say they were beaten and raped because they are gay. Their haunting stories – and an interview with Simelane’s mother – are the backbone of E:60’s report. Other interview subjects include the chief spokesman of South Africa’s national police force and the former chief of the South African Human Rights Commission.
“The whole world is going to be focusing on South Africa this summer and during our visit in March it was disturbing to find that there is so much violence committed against lesbians, including lesbian soccer players. It was also disturbing that the authorities in some cases don’t seem to pursue these crimes with the same vigor that they do crimes against straight women. It’s a very sad story and an important one because an entire community in South Africa, the lesbian community, lives in fear,” — Schaap.