|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
In an effort to stop her from seeing her girlfriend, a young Mauritius lesbian was allegedly kidnapped and confined in her family house by her relatives who told her that behavior was foreign to the family.
KotZot News a Mauritius Newspaper reported that 20 year old Shalina thought she was living a real nightmare on 06 June when around 18h30 in the evening, she was brutally beaten up and dragged down the stairs of her apartment and then pushed to the back of a van by a number of people.
She only realised that she had been kidnapped by her relatives when she found herself locked in one of the bedroom of her family house.
“It all happened very quickly. There were many of them, six or seven, I can remember and they were telling me: you are not like this. That girl wishes you ill”, she told KotZot News, adding “I was locked in and they had confiscated my cell phone.”
Shalina explained that although she had kept her distance from her family, that does not accept her sexual orientation, she had welcomed her father in her flat that day because she did not want to cut ties definitely with the family.
“My dad used to come and visit me. Although I had left home under bad conditions I did not want to cut ties with my parents and it is for this reason that I let him in that afternoon”, she said.
KotZot reported that the young woman owes her life to one of her friends who witnessed the assault and alerted her girlfriend.
Despite many requests from the girlfriend, police refused to open a case arguing that she [Shalina] was an adult and it was a family matter.
It was only after the intervention of Arc-en-ciel, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) organization on the island, that Shalina was released and a case opened by the police on Monday evening.
“We made such a fuss about this that the police agreed to open a case and Shalina’s parents were forced to release her”, a representative of Arc-en-ciel said adding “Arc-en-ciel is following the matter and we have already asked our lawyer to work on it.”
On a lighter note, the LGBTI community on the island has recently celebrated its annual gay pride event titled The Rainbow Week.
“On 12 May we celebrated our fifth anniversary. We invited our partners and people to visit the centre and our services. From the 02 to 04 June we had a film festival here at the French Cultural Center. And on 05 June we concluded with a Rainbow march followed by the pride party attended by more than 500 people”, Arc-en-ciel.