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southafricanUS campaigning group Human Rights Watch has warned of an ‘epidemic’ of homophobic violence in South Africa.

‘Corrective rape’ has become an epidemic in South Africa, as more and more women are being gang-raped and sexually assaulted in order to ‘turn’ them straight or ‘cure’ them of their homosexuality.

The latest publicised attack was on activist Noxolo Nogwaza. 

Noxolo Nogwaza was brutally raped and murdered last month. Her face and head were disfigured by stoning and a beer bottle, a large rock and used condoms were discovered on and around her body.

Noxolo Nogwaza was an out member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organising Committee, organisers of pride marches in the Gauteng province since 2009. Members of the committee have faced harassment and attacks because of their visibility. More than 2,000 people attended Nogwaza’s funeral and some carried posters that read: “Love me or hate me I will continue to be a lesbian”.

No arrests have been made since Nogwaza’s body was discovered and Human Rights Watch has claimed that homophobic violence is continuing unchecked in South Africa’s townships.

Dipika Nath, a researcher in the group’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights programme, told The Guardian: “Nogwaza’s death is the latest in a long series of sadistic crimes against lesbians, gay men and transgender people in South Africa. The vicious nature of the assault is a potent reminder that these attacks are premeditated, planned and often committed with impunity.”

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