Almost a year ago Change.org bloggers Alex DiBranco and Mike Jones started covering the South African phenomenon of ‘corrective rape‘, rheumatologist the increasingly common crime in which men rape lesbian women to ‘turn’ them straight or ‘cure’ them of their sexual orientation.
Since then a petition written by a tiny group of lesbian activists in a safehouse in the townships of Cape Town has seen phenomenal success, web with well over 100,000 signatures. From Brazil, China and India to South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Change.org member’s in 163 countries have helped make the South African anti-rape activists’ action the most popular petition of all time.
Yesterday the activists had another major breakthrough, as coverage of their Change.org campaign by numerous major South African media outlets took ‘corrective rape’ from being an unknown epidemic to a national discussion.
Their campaign calling on South Africa’s Minister of Justice Jeffrey Thamsanqa Radebe to combat ‘corrective rape’ has been highlighted in the following media outlets (will continue to update list):
- The Sowetan, a national newspaper with a readership in the millions in South Africa’s townships and famous for it’s role in the country’s anti-Apartheid struggle. They featured a lead article.
- CityPress, the third largest newspaper in South Africa with a readership of 2.5 million (1 in every 20 South Africans read this paper). Distributed nationally and in neighboring countries including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. This Sunday paper ran three articles! Here, here and here.
- Kaya FM, South Africa’s most popular commercial radio station.
- SABC, South Africa’s national broadcaster (watch the video!).
- Cape Argus, Cape Town’s biggest newspaper (print the article here).
- Cape Talk, Cape Town’s Talk Radio Station (listen to the interview: Part 1 and Part 2).
- Business Day, South Africa’s elite business daily (read the article here, and note that they got a comment from the minister).
- Huffington Post, a liberal-leaning American news website with a readership in the tens of millions (read the article here).
- Voice of America (VOA News), the official media outlet of the U.S. government.
- AlterNet, a progressive news service with a readership of more than 3 million / month (read the article here).
- International blogs in both English and Spanish.
Through these media hits Luleki Sizwe’s campaign has reached tens of millions of people all over the world! For the first time in these women’s long and painful quest for justice and rape prevention, there seem to be some lights popping out at the end of the tunnel.
“We’re so BLESSED to be part of a community like Change.org that fights together,” Luleki Sizwe activists told us earlier today. “Thank you for standing with us! When any Change.org member starts a campaign, we will stand with them!”
We have reached the breaking point in this campaign: Minister Radebe has still not agreed to even meet with the activists, but news of the petition’s success and media interest is likely to increase pressure on the South African government to take the ‘corrective rape’ epidemic seriously. It is critical that we keep up the pressure!
If you have already signed the ‘corrective rape’ petition, don’t stop now! Please, take a minute to share the petition on Facebook, and email the link below to all your friends.
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