Intersexions episode 8: Sexual preference is a fundamental human right

Episode 8 of Intersexions tackles the highly sensitive issue of gender based violence (GBV), zeroing in more especially on the rape of lesbians. Termed "corrective rape," this is a phenomenon in which men rape people they presume or know to be lesbians in order to "convert" them to heterosexuality.

Lorraine, Bontle's cousin from episode 7 is a role model doing outstanding work with the poor and vulnerable in her community. A lesbian, her openness regarding her sexual orientation attracts the ire of some residents in her township. When she intervenes to stop a bullying incident by some local layabouts, she angers the dangerous Madoda, who does not forgive easily. Plotting the right moment to get his revenge, Madoda and his friends accost Lorraine late at night while walking alone and beat her badly and rape her. They also threaten that if she tells the police then they will also rape her partner.

Although some members of the community witness the crime, none of them come forward to testify against the thugs. The episode traces Lorraine's journey to recovery, her fears of contracting HIV and the dread of her endangering her partner's life if she reports to the police. Fighting in her corner however is a hardy police officer determined to bring to book Lorraine's attackers and rapists.

A brave victim, a sexist bully, a good cop and a community unable to respect sexual preference remain at odds until eventually, common sense and justice reigns over ignorance and fear. Solidarity overcomes fear and witnesses come forward.  Madoda and his thugs get arrested.

JHHESA managing director, Richard Delate says the underlying message of episode 8 is "Zero tolerance to all forms of rape." Central to the anti-GBV message is also the help available to rape victims through the Prevention and treatment of HIV after rape, a drug which sould be administered 72 hours of sexual assault or suspicion of exposure to HIV. It is called post exposure prophylaxis or  (PEP).

Key Facts about Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP):

1. Must start immediately within 72 hrs of rape.
2. Must have HIV test first, if negative continue ARVs for 28 days.
3. Must get emergency contraception/ 'morning after' pill to prevent pregnancy.
4. Must get antibiotics to prevent other STIs.
5. Must continue counselling.
6. Re-test for HIV after 6 weeks.
N.B Do not need to report case to the police to get PEP!

"In the face of escalating cases of GBV, it is shocking to note that there remains some pockets of society who believe rape is permissible. The continued rape and violence in this country contravenes basic human rights as outlined by the United Nations which states among many other rights that every human being is born free and equal and has the right to life and safety," Delate concludes.

Episode 8 of Intersexions was screened on SABC1 at 8.30pm on 2nd April 2013.