AT LEAST five families who found out their daughters were lesbian set their children up for rape in a desperate bid to change their sexual orientation, the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) has said.
This comes as tolerance and acceptance for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) persons in Zimbabwe remains at an all-time low.
GALZ said in the last six months, they have recorded abuse of several young girls who confided in their families that they were lesbian.
It is reported that their families decided to set their daughters up for rape to “prove” that sex with men was “better.”
“In the last six months we have five women who have come to saying ‘I have been raped’ and that they family members had engineered this assaults,” Munyaradzi Nyamatendedza GALZ services and policy advocacy officer told journalists last week during a workshop on covering Religion & Sexual and Gender Minorities in Zimbabwe.
Corrective rape, as it is chillingly known, is a common experience for women in countries where homosexuality is illegal or culturally disapproved of.
The organisation which strives for the attainment of full and equal human, social and economic rights in all aspects of life for LGBTI persons has been reaching out to policy makers advocating for laws that protect LGBTI persons.
Before the July 30 elections, GALZ wrote to the contesting political parties but only received a reply from ZANU PF.
They subsequently met with war veterans’ secretary general Victor Matemadanda and other ZANU PF officials who insisted that they would come back to GALZ with a “formal response” around the issues that the association tabled at the meeting.
The meeting was against the backdrop that LGBTI community has been affected by the climate of intolerance that perpetuated previous elections.
This was in the form of hate speech led by deposed leader Robert Mugabe and use of state machinery to clamp down on LGBTI activities.
The environment has, however, been more tolerant since the coming in of President Emmerson Mnangagwa who has opened up the democratic space which the LGBTI community has taken up to advocate for tolerance and enactment of laws that protect freedom of association.
However, while Mnangagwa has abandoned his predecessor’s politics of discrimination, hatred and intolerance, he is still to clearly state his position on the LGBTI community and same-sex marriages.