Lesbians and Gay Men in Zimbabwe Face Brutal “Corrective” Rape

Flag of Zimbabwe

In a country long plagued by violence, corruption, and an authoritarian government, Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe is known as one of the worst anti-gay autocrats in Africa. Mugabe has repeatedly located blame for the country’s ills on lesbians and gay men, cultivating widespread bigotry and violence. His virulent homophobia has given rise to the rape of lesbian and gay male Zimbabweans, under the guise of “correcting” them into heterosexuality.

The US State Department’s 2009 Human Rights Report for Zimbabwe identified chronic, politically sanctioned anti-gay discrimination, violence, and torture at the hands of Mugabe’s minions, including rape of lesbians and gay men forced  into heterosexual acts, with some raped by family members, ostensibly to “cure” them. The NGO, AIDS Free World, reported in December 2009 that the 70 women it surveyed reported being raped on average five times and possibly higher, as the women often became unconscious during the brutal sexual assaults.

President Mugabe

Mugabe has created an atmosphere of terror through brutality and sexual assault, commonly using rape to intimidate and control anyone he deems to be undesirable or uncooperative. In a homophobic worldview such as Mugabe’s, it follows that lesbians and gay men would be seen as less than desirable and in need of  a cure. Such detestable acts are clear violations of human rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Other voices in Zimbabwe, notably the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, have urged leaders to resist hate speech and to include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation in the Constitution. However, Mugabe has pledged to block any effort to include gay rights.

Meanwhile, gay and lesbian Zimbabweans are finding life and identity threatened and endangered by a homophobe who uses thought police tactics to maintain power and control through the sexual abuse of lesbians, gay men, and others.


31 Responses to Lesbians and Gay Men in Zimbabwe Face Brutal “Corrective” Rape

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  2. sr8 April 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Ok, so pretend to be a gay man in order to get some chicks interested…

    • Gia April 13, 2010 at 8:43 pm

      I would do that.

  3. someGuy April 9, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Are the gay men being raped by men or women?

  4. chris April 9, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    This is sick and wrong. I hope someone castrates that Mugabe bastard.

    • Tonderayi April 10, 2010 at 12:10 am

      When the world communities gets sick, we in Zimbabwe do not wish to go along with that sickness called gays, homo’s and lebians. We still have fresh awareness of how god destroyed Sodom and Gomorah for such evil. However if God does not destroy these societies advocating this evil called gay and lesbian etc, surely the same god owes Sodom and gomorah an apology.

      • Ricardo April 10, 2010 at 6:17 am

        Surely such hatred is a sickness, for Jesus preached love above all else. You, my friend, need to find your Savior properly lest you continue to say such hateful and horrible things in His name. He sacrificed Himself to atone for the sins of the Old Testament and He would never tolerate such a thing as you have given testimony to here today. Make good with your Savior, because it is you who preach evil. After all, Sodom and Gomorah were, among other things, destroyed for the sin of rape, which is what you have just condoned before the eyes of the world. Search your soul and make good with your Savior, for he is the Light and Love of the world.

        • Jake April 10, 2010 at 8:35 am

          Jesus didn’t preach anything, as he didn’t exist at the time. Jesus was later invented by man, in a book, called the Bible. The Bible was probably a fiction novel, just as Scientology was, and is a fiction novel turned religion, just as Scientology is.

          The Bible (not Jesus) preached specifically against Gay people (Gay includes Lesbians, there is no difference between the two, Gay is having sex with the same gender) some people of religion believe the Bible doesn’t preach against Gays, only because they believe Gay people should be allowed to be Gay even though their religion is against it.

          Lev 18:22-23 “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”

          Lev 20:13 “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death.”

          You have to believe every last thing in the Bible to get in to Heaven, as the Bible says. And I don’t believe it is wrong to be Gay.

          • Emperor Norton 2 April 10, 2010 at 10:37 am

            Um, I’m not a big bible thumper, but we have a pretty clear historical record that Jesus existed. The records from the Roman senate indicate their concern about the trouble being stirred up by Jesus of Nazareth. Historians agree that he did exist. He certainly seemed to inspire a lot of people to write stuff that the Christians keep hidden. I think the the strategy the church is using is not to make up Jesus, but to change what he said to suit their purposes.

            Who would Jesus have ‘Correctively raped”

          • James April 10, 2010 at 11:01 am

            These principles are from the Leviticus holiness code and have to do with perpetuation of the ancient Semitic tribes. This was because any sexual act that did not result in procreation and the production of offspring was seen as a crime against the tribe, as it did not grow the tribe’s numbers and add to its numbers and, therefore, its future. As for following the Leviticus holiness code, if you want to actually do it, there are many other passages that Christians often cherry-pick, so they do not have to follow them. Also, a substantial portion of humanity does not buy into the Judeo-Christian-Islamic worldview, which is a dominator (“power-over”) model. We have a significantly more scientific and humane understanding of sexuality, sexual identity, etc., now than did our ancestors.

          • Janine April 11, 2010 at 12:22 pm

            Why did God create gay people, people are born gay. Why would he make people attracted to the same sex what are they all supposed to live in misery their whole lives. And the Bible was created by men and it was rewritten to suit the needs and beliefe (hmmm)of the time or person.

      • roninkai April 10, 2010 at 1:24 pm

        Why wait for the imaginary Holy Ghost to show up?
        Can’t we take responsibility for or own races (human) behavior?

        Maybe the right wing American Taliban can get the h_ll out of African politics.
        Imagine if the right wing American Taliban had their way here in the USA?
        This should be a HUGE warning to us in the States.

        So sad for Africa in general, so much violence.

        • roninkai April 10, 2010 at 1:25 pm

          Why wait for the imaginary Holy Ghost to show up?

          Waiting 2000 years plus, where is sense in not taking these dictators to task?

      • truth April 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm

        The bible is a fairy tale. There is no god. There are only cruel, greedy, ignorant human beings committing terrible crimes against humanity in the name of gods that do not exist. Educate yourself, educate your neighbors, educate your children, and you can make the world a better place. If there was a god, it would be weeping for the crimes committed against innocent human beings by ignorant people who don’t understand the truth.

  5. Joe April 9, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Can’t wait until the news reports of Mugabe’s secret homosexual life emerge. Why does it always end up that the biggest gay-bashers are themselves gay?

    • roninkai April 10, 2010 at 1:26 pm

      See: republican party, Christian Right, all of the Muslim world.

  6. Ade April 9, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    I wish Nelson Mandela would kick that punk ass dick out of power

  7. Geo zav April 9, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Ade be realistic, Mandela? he is a lapdog of the whites. He is gone, can’t you see the poorman is content with leftovers.
    Gays no, no no, put them in prison the guys there will corect them, coz they are looking for sluts with dicks. It’s funny, so with gays if someone is shagging them in the back do their dicks get erect?
    Poor world………………………………………Correct the fagats

    • James April 10, 2010 at 11:16 am

      Mandela is nobody’s “lapdog”: he is a national and cultural hero for his resistance to white oppression. Such language is not factual, is reactionary, and is demeaning to this great man’s life and work.

  8. Billy B. T. April 9, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    oh man.
    straight guy: excuse me, sir. i’m gay. guess you’ll have to force some chicks to have sex with me to fix my problem… darn

  9. Nathan April 9, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    That was my first thought. Too bad the article couldn’t go into more detail on how they force the gay men into heterosexual acts, I’m genuinely curious.

    • Ricardo April 10, 2010 at 6:23 am

      Hold a gun to their head.

      The Nazis did it during WWII, sometimes forcing suspected homosexuals to have sex with dead girls under threat of death, or beating them until they performed.

      I have no specific documentation of this in the case of Zimbabwe, but I’m sure they can learn from history just as we can. The cruel are ever innovative in their methods of torture, but seldom truly original.

      • Ricardo April 10, 2010 at 7:19 am

        Just a citation regarding the fact that homosexual men were forced to have sex with women, many times young Jewish girls as a twisted form of punishment for both parties, during the Holocaust:

        Plant, Richard. The Pink Triangle – “The Nazi War Against Homosexuals.” New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1986.

  10. Truthier April 10, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Misleading. The US State Department report this blog post is based on clearly states that “corrective rape”, while abhorrent, is directed along political lines, at opposition supporters, and has nothing to do with gays and lesbians. Fail.

    • Ricardo April 10, 2010 at 6:52 am

      “General homophobia and restrictive legislation made it difficult for the LGBT community to feel safe about being open about their sexuality in public. Because of significant social pressure, some families reportedly subjected men and women to “corrective” rape and forced marriages to encourage heterosexual conduct; the crimes were rarely reported to police. Women in particular were subjected to rape by male members of their own families.”

      –2009 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe
      U.S. State Department
      Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

      This article confuses the statistics with those regarding women raped for political reasons, but your statement implying that corrective rape has “nothing to do with gays and lesbians” is much more misleading than the article.

      Your haste to declare a “fail” makes me wonder if you’ve abandoned your seeming love of truth in favor of either the desire to be contradictory and right or some other personal agenda. I hope to think better of someone who goes by the handle “Truthier.”

  11. Tardigrade April 10, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Why is Mugabe still out and about? He has done so many crimes that he should be easy to put away.

    • Emperor Norton 2 April 10, 2010 at 10:39 am

      Um, He runs a country?

      • Leslock April 10, 2010 at 10:49 am

        Don’t you mean Ruins a Country , its time some one put him out of his misery

  12. the internet April 10, 2010 at 10:33 am

    i’d say i was get just to nail a few hundred chicks. seems pretty reasonable to me.

  13. roninkai April 10, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Maybe the right wing American Taliban can get the h_ll out of African politics.
    Imagine if the right wing American Taliban had their way here in the USA?
    This should be a HUGE warning to us in the States.

    So sad for Africa in general, so much violence.

  14. Rock Park April 13, 2010 at 3:17 am

    If you want to complain about a society”s intolerance of gays, say it. However, this biased article makes the reader think that only Mugabe has such strong opinions against gays. In case you haven’t been reading the news lately, Tsvangirai is also intolerant of gays. The state of Nigeria is trying to make it punishable by death. In fact there are a number of African heads-of-state who concur with Mugabe on this issue. However, you’d never know it by this article. This article even implies that when a family member rapes or forces each other into heterosexual contact, that that is also Mugabe calling the shots. For the record, I condemn all discrimination against gay people anywhere in the world. The author of this article writes as if all would be a bed of roses for gays in Zimbabwe and the rest of the world if it weren’t for Mugabe. What hideous, lop-sided bias. So every time an innocent black man is beaten black and blue or murdered by the cops in New York, LA or any other US city, is that the fault of George Bush or Barack Obama? Are cops Barack Obama’s “minions” as the Lovette-Black refers to the police in Zimbabwe? Despite the fact that both Bush & Obama are the scoundrels of the hour, I wouldn’t stoop that low to point the finger at them for what the crimes of the local police. One thing is perfectly a fact: whatever oppression is alleged about Robert Mugabe – true OR false, multiply that by a factor of at least 100 and you just begin to delineate the murderous criminal profiles of Israeli and US heads-of-state. Mr. Lovette-Black, are you outraged accordingly with those facts?

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