Corrective Rape against LGBT persons
As we close out Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), we’d like to draw your attention to a topic that is widely not discussed and often misunderstood.
Specifically, we’re talking about: corrective rape.
Let’s start with providing a definition.
What is corrective rape?
Simply put, corrective rape involves using sexual assault as a tool to “correct the sexual orientation” of someone gay.
Originally coined in South Africa, the problem seems to be spreading. In the majority of cases, the rapist (or instigator of the assault) is a family member of the gay person.
Do parents really engage in corrective rape?
Sadly, some do. There have been multiple documented cases where a parent, upon learning (or suspecting) their child is gay or lesbian, uses rape as a tool to “teach a lesson” to their child.
And it doesn’t just happen in South Africa.
A recent example can be found in the case of a 54-year old English man who raped his 16-year old daughter when she revealed her lesbian sexual orientation. The father’s excuse? “To prove sex was better with a men.”
Another example can be found where a gay teenage boy was raped by his mother to in an attempt to “change” him to become straight, as reported in the Times Mirror.
There was even one case where a father hired a sex worker to rape his 14-year old gay son with the goal of trying to make the youngster straight. See this report from The Bulletin.
These are just but a few examples of gay people being sexually assaulted because of misinformed, misguided and ignorant attempts on the part of family members to “correct” their sexual orientation.
Most cases of corrective rape go unreported.
Some people even believe corrective rape can “fix” people who do not conform to gender norms or who are not heterosexual.
ActionAid reports that rape survivors remember being told that they were being taught a lesson. Some perpetrators of this hate crime are impelled by a sense of misogyny and chauvinism.
Here’s 5 lies about the practice of corrective rape that must stop – now.
1. LIE 1: Corrective Rape “resets” sexual orientation
One of the biggest lies about corrective rape is that it holds the power to “reset” a young person’s sexual orientation.
This lie also suggests that children may need to be “corrected” several times before “straightness” sets in.
We know from clinical research that a person’s sexual orientation cannot be changed through so called “reparative therapy”. In fact, it has been outlawed in places, including many locals in the U.S.
Sexually assaulting a child will also not change orientation. Moreover, such behavior will likely cause deep, long lasting and serious emotional trauma that will last for a lifetime.
2. LIE 2: Impregnating a child will make her straight
Sadly, there have been cases where LGBT persons have been raped for the purpose of pregnation. The harmful (and completely wrong) belief is that by making a lesbian woman carry a child, she will act more “feminine” and more “womanly”.
The New York Times offered a hard-hitting piece in 2013 that exposed a case where a lesbian woman was “correctively raped” two times by people in her community; with one being a priest.
The purpose was to get her pregnant and “change” her orientation.
3. LIE 3: “Corrective Rape” doesn’t happen to males
For some reason, many people believe “men can’t be raped”. But based on numerous reports, we know this to be completely untrue.
Still, that misconception that men can’t be violated feeds into the construct that boys can’t be “correctively” raped.
In truth, there have been multiple cases of males being raped with the sole purpose of changing sexual orientation. As mentioned previously, most incidents go unreported.
4. LIE 4: It’s not really rape
Yet another harmful, ridiculous lie that is believed by some who engage in this practice. Here, the person buys into the myth that corrective rape “really isn’t rape” because it’s used to “help” a child.
Yes, there are some who actually believe this.
The truth is rape is rape. The rationale behind the behavior is immaterial. Period.
5. LIE 5: It’s only parents doing it
The final lie that needs to be squashed about corrective rape is that only parents do it. The reality is that family members are often recruited to carry out the rape by a caregiver.
In 2015, the Daily Mail reported extensively on how families “choose” another family member to sexually assault the LGBT person.
In this sad scenario, not only does the child become the victim, the person being forced to violate the gay person is also victimized.