Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

“Corrective Rape”: Heterosexist Gay-Bashing & Misogyny Connected

[Trigger warning! And thanks to a reader for explaining the term. I have known several rape survivors, but I always find myself with more to learn. ] My late mother was a bit player in the Civil Rights movement.  She told me about once being part of a solidarity march by white women in Daytona Beach, FL.  As white men rode by in pick-up trucks hurling abuse and other things, she remembers one man screaming at them, “All you gals need is a little rape to teach you!”  I have heard many a similar story by other women.

Now, South Africa is trying to “cure” lesbians by “corrective rape.” The idea is apparently to “teach” lesbians the “true purpose” of a vagina.  Don’t think this attitude is only in South Africa.  Central to patriarchy is the need to keep women in their “place.”  Central to heterosexism is the idea of keeping men and women in “proper place.”  Gay men are subject  to violence to teach the shame of having “been treated like a woman.”  Lesbians are threatened with “corrective rape.” 

Heterosexual women who aren’t submissive to men are threatened, sometimes even by churches, with physicalabuse to teach them their “proper role” of submission to men.

If you aren’t angry right now, you aren’t paying attention.


March 13, 2009 - Posted by | feminism, GLBT issues, human rights.


  1. This makes no sense. You want to change lesbians to straight women by associating a traumatizing event (rape) with straight sex? Apart from the trauma, I can imagine this strategy leads the lesbians to think “Oh, I am definitely a lesbian, then… no question about it!”

    Comment by ubuntucat | March 13, 2009

  2. please, when you post things like this, include a trigger warning.

    Comment by Tia | March 13, 2009

  3. What is a trigger warning?

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | March 13, 2009

  4. I don’t think it makes sense on any level, Ubuntu Cat. I don’t want to change lesbians, or think it is possible.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | March 13, 2009

  5. It seems that South Africa should be dealing with their AIDS epidemic and gang violence which are very serious problems there. Where is Nelson Mandela when they need him? Or Desmond Tutu ?

    Comment by Paul | March 13, 2009

  6. …Just a note (*TRIGGER WARNING* is all that is necessary) saying it could be potentially triggering at the head of the post or in the title.

    For women who have survived sexual assault, reading something like this can trigger flashbacks/anxiety/feelings of self-hatred. Especially if the circumstances are similar. Usually by the time we realize it is triggering, it’s too late to stop reading and move on to something less triggering.

    Comment by Tia | March 13, 2009

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