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Sexual Violence Against Lesbian Women in South Africa

in SOUTH AFRICA, 02/02/2009

South Africa was the first state worldwide that placed sexual orientation under the protection of constitutional law. The constitution grants gender equality, gender equity and democratic rights such as the immunity of every individual.

Yet there’s a wide gulf between theory and practice. When attempting to demand equal treatment, women in particular are faced with an alarming inclination towards violence. It seems, that historical and cultural circumstances and normative pressure from society support a certain legitimisation of violence.

Even though the visibility of lesbian women in South Africa is on the increase due to their recognition by law, they are especially faced with discrimination, violent attacks and sexual violence.

In my thesis I aim to look at sexual violence inflicted on women in South Africa in general, and lesbian women specifically, identifying causes and outlining differences depending on the population group they belong to.
I further look into forms sexual violence inflicted on lesbian women can take, what consequences it can have on them, how far women are affected differently in the multiethnic society of South Africa and address the significant role cultural dynamics play in this context.

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Read more on the above pdf file

Contents of the Thesis:
1. Introduction
1.1 Aims and Research Methodology
1.2 Methodology
1.3 Lesbian Women: Identifying the Subject Group
2. South African Society as a Field of Tension between Liberal Constitution and
Socially Sanctioned Gender Relations
2.1 Homosexuality: Constitutional Protection versus Acceptance by Society?
2.1.1 The Legal Situation
2.1.2. Homosexuality as ‘Un-African’
2.2 Gender Relations – A Brief Overview
2.3. Heteronormativity as Dominant Model of Society
3. Inclinations towards Violence
3.1 Gender-Based Violence
3.1.1 Gender-Based Violence as Subject Matter
3.1.2 Causes of Gender-Based Violence
3.1.3 Rape as a Form of Gender-Based Violence
3.1.4 Violence within Lesbian Relationship as Another Form of Gender-Based
Violence
3.2 Hate Crime
3.2.1 Definition and Legal Framework
3.2.2 Hate Crime and Sexual Orientation
3.2.3 Hate Crime against Lesbian Women
3.2.4 The Problem of Capturing Hate Crimes Statistically
4. Corrective Rape
4.1 Terminology and Characteristics
4.2 Causes, Perpetrators and Motifs
4.3 Consequences of Corrective Rape
4.3.1 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
4.3.2 HIV/AIDS
4.4 Use of Public Services
4.4.1 Health Care
4.4.2 Police and Justice Services
4.5 Corrective Rape in the Media Discourse
5. Conclusion and Perspective

Ines Gontek
igontek@yahoo.de

 

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