Destitute Organization helps Lesbian Victims of Corrective Rape

4-13-10 Posted by Melanie Nathan.

Tomorrow, Wednesday April, 14, 2010, I will be participating in a blog radio fund raiser to help of Millicent Gaika, the South African woman who after being brutally raped, is destitute. In a state of shock and trauma, she is unable to pursue her medical needs and the organization that has been helping her has exhausted all their funds.

Ndumi Funda , who lost her partner to such viscous rape, is one of the founding members of the the group, “Luleki ‘Isizwe Womyn’s Project,” which was born from what has now become systemic, the corrective rape of Township lesbians in South Africa.  Desperate for money they continue to help 8 victims who they are currently housing, not knowing how many more sisters may seek help, at any time.

In African culture names are not just names, they have deep meaning.  It connects the child to the family and community.  Because of this connectedness, the child’s duty is to live in harmony with this name.

This is What Ndumi has written  –

“So where does our name come from?

The first part of our name comes from Luleka Makiwane, who was a lesbian woman.  She lived openly and had no shame about her sexuality.  She was a strong and powerful woman, and even though she fought for lesbian women’s rights, she connected strongly to the struggles of the poor in general.  She worked tireless to fight against violence against all women.  This did not protect her though, and she was violated by her own cousin who raped her.  The reason he did it ‘was to prove that she was a woman, not a man.’    As a result of the rape she became a victim to HIV AIDS and died in 2005.  She spoke about her rape and status with many of the gay community to try and educate and bring awareness of sexual and sexuality abuse.

The second part of our name comes from Nosizwe Nomsa Bizana, who was a lesbian woman.  She too was raped, gang raped by five men, because of her sexuality.  Unfortunately as a result of the vicious rape, she succumbed to Cripto Meningitis in December 16, 2007. Her story is sad, the trauma of the rape silenced her in the beginning, and she could not share this with the community.  It took a while before she could share this experience with her mother and her partner at the time.  In the end, before she passed away she was happy to be involved in the HIV Booklets of Triangle Project and thus disclose her HIV status to the broader community.

There is a general belief that lesbian women are a low risk group in terms of sexually transmitted diseases and especially HIV/AIDS.  This opinion does not however take into consideration the high levels of rape, also called ‘corrective rape,’  that particularly township-based lesbians are exposed to and which puts them at risk for STI’s and HIV/AIDS.

The stories of Luleka and Nosizwe are not the only stories that we can tell.  There are many whose stories will most probably never be told or their lives being honored in the way which we are trying to do with our initiative.  Nonetheless, we have named our project as a means to celebrate and recognize the lives and contributions of these two lesbian women who have experienced great hardship and struggle when they were alive.  Yet they continued to fight and resist against homophobia and gender based violence in the communities that they lived in.

FOUNDING MEMBERS: Ndumie Funda /  Nozuko /  Olivia /  Nkulie /  Puleng / Pam

FUND RAISING

WAKE UP  AMERICA 2010  hosted by Lori, will dedicate a show tomorrow specifically to this issue and we shall be asking that people who want to help send money to:
Checks made out to:
Private Courts (Memo – for Millicent Gaika)-
to Melanie Nathan  P.O.Box 1108,
Woodacre, CA  94973

EVENT –

Date / Time: 4/14/2010 2:00 PM

Call-in Number: (347) 838-9073

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