ESPN to air segment on “corrective” rape, tonight at 7pm EST

Though I’ve not shied away from the topic of violence in these pages, I have found it extremely challenging to write about the violence against lesbians in South Africa, particularly the practice of so-called “corrective” rape. Doubling my apprehension is the urgency with which I need to write and publish this post, because I’ve just found out that ESPN will be airing a segment, “Corrective Rape”, on their program E:60, tonight at 7pm EST.

“The segment will tell the story of the former top female soccer players in South Africa, Eudy Simelane, was raped and murdered… Emmy winning journalist Jeremy Schaap traveled to the impoverished, crime-ridden townships of South Africa to report on the disturbing trend of ‘corrective rape’ in the country hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He interviewed three South African women soccer players who say they were beaten and raped because they are gay. Their haunting stories — and an interview with Simelane’s mother — are the backbone of E:60’s report.”

– From “ESPN’s E:60 brings ‘Corrective Rape’ May 11, programming notes” by April MacIntyre

As well, there’s a 52-second preview on ESPN’s site.

In the interests of time, I’ll cut the editorial here. For background and more information, read my post on the Chosen FEW football team and the article “Girlie “S’Gelane” Nkosi, Eudy Similane’s teammate and a lesbian activist murdered” by Jennifer Doyle at From a Left Wing.

I don’t get ESPN and I don’t know anything about the show or journalist Jeremy Schaap. I am apprehensive but hopeful that this might end up being a positive example of how the World Cup is bringing attention (and ultimately practice- and policy-change) to the violence facing South Africa’s lesbians. Those of you who watch the program are invited to post in the comments section.

Watch the piece (approximately 16 minutes) on ESPN’s site, here.This is a story about the practice of  “corrective” rape, which is rape with the intended purpose of punishing – and “correcting” – lesbians. The story hangs loosely around the 2008 rape, mutilation, and murder of South African pro footballer, LGBT-rights activist, and out lesbian, Eudy Similane. Journalist Schaap interviews several out lesbian soccer players, including Eudy’s childhood friend, from the townships of South Africa.

It’s not easy to tell a story like this while avoiding the grimy sheen of exploitation, and I don’t think the piece is entirely successful in doing so. That said, there are some revelatory moments. Schaap’s discussion with South African P0lice Services Spokesman Vishnu Naidoo handily illuminates the unwillingness of authority to even name the practice, much less prohibit it. Former Chair of the South African Human Rights Commision Jody Kollapen’s comments on culture and society provide some sort of context, which is a small relief following several man-on-the-street interviews parroting the sentiment that lesbians are deserving targets.



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2 responses to “ESPN to air segment on “corrective” rape, tonight at 7pm EST

  1. ZGS

    For all those who missed the original showing last night, or do not have access to ESPN, here’s a link to the segment:

  2. Pingback: Online sports fandom news reading list @ Ozzie Sport

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