South African Lesbian Couple’s Hell

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Police have arrested eight suspects, who are now standing on trial for murder: Jack Mokotedi, 18; Maruschka Opperman, 18; Mercia Witney Van Rooi, 21; Aaron Sithole, 23; Vincent Strydom, 29; Moses Rakubu, 33; Alex Mudau, 36; and Koos Strydom, 53.

The suspects are facing charges of rape, kidnapping, robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, and obstruction of justice. The Van Niekerks were married three years ago. Anisha’s brother, Wynand, called the weeks following the couple’s murder “nothing less than a nightmare.”

South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of sexual assault, hovering at 500,000 a year, or one every 17 seconds. “Corrective rape” is increasingly employed to “turn” queer women straight.

“The men will rape you so you can taste how good it is to sleep with a man,” one victim told the Independent in 2014. “They gonna really rape you badly to teach you a lesson—they think if they do that you will forget who you are.”

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