Friday, March 18, 2011

Women's Bodies Have Become War Zones

As president, Zuma has selected more women than the previous administration for Cabinet positions and has pledged his commitment to protecting the rights of women, but there are signs that attitudes toward rape and homosexuality throughout the population remain the same.

Last year the South Africa Human Rights Commission issued a report on primary and secondary school violence. One of the findings pointed to "a growing phenomenon" of the acceptance of corrective rape from the next generation of South African men.

Phumi Metwa, director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Project, says she thinks the violence is actually getting worse. Her organization has tried to educate women and men on gender and sexual orientation sensitivity. But she says as a lesbian, she often feels threatened herself, like a "time bomb" could go off at anytime, making her a victim.

"Women's bodies have become war zones," said Metwa. "We are trying to say that if women work together, we can change attitudes, but for now, we live in fear every day."