Trigger warning: This piece has mention of sexual assault and abuse(physical, emotional and spiritual)

Being gay made me a victim for rape, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse. I endured cyber-bullying because I was “different” than which is seen as being straight. Why do I have to be victimized and abused for loving who I love, and being who I am?

Why do I have to be victimized because I was being who I am in silence? Why do people feel the need to be entitled and obligated to rape the gayness out of me? Coming out to my family was the hardest and being almost beaten to death because I was gay broke me. But when some men that “became” men raped the gayness out of me was a different kind of pain that still haunts me till today.

Our society and communities victimize and abuse women and men that are queer. These people suffer in silence because they are afraid that they are going to be shamed and named by the people who they think they are going to help them. Even if we report to higher authorities in our places of help, there’s some old man or woman that is sitting at the police station in his office with his legs up the table that is going to say “it is your fault, you people are busy trying to be different and doing ungodly and evil things. So it’s your fault.” How was it someone’s fault that some filthy boy or man felt entitled someone else’s body?

Tell you this, we are all human. We all have a heart and feel emotions. Corrective rape and physical abuse has been overlooked by our communities only because someone out there believes that they deserve it. With our communities not having enough and relevant information about such crucial and important aspect of our lives because they live amongst and breathe the same air that “gay” people are breathing. One thing that people should understand is, just because someone is gay, doesn’t automatically take away their humanity. That doesn’t give anyone the authority to ill-treat and abuse people that they see as different to them. That same person is just like you. Just because they love who they love and choose to embrace who they are, doesn’t give you an entitlement or power over their lives.

Queer individuals suffer in silence ad battle with depression only because they have no one to run to. Firstly an individual is disowned by his or her family. Only because they cannot live with a “devil child.” Funny enough a parent will come to terms with their child being an addict of drugs or an alcoholic, but beats and chases away their child for being harmless and queer. Only because of bazothini abantu (What are people going to say?) ukhuliswe ngubani, uyifundiswe ngubani loo mikhuba? (Who raised you and taught you this madness?).

Firstly what parents should understand is that it has nothing to do with them and how they raised the individual. To understand that if from a young age a child had been showing signs of gayness, they never learned it anywhere. That is simply who they are. What you do or say cannot change who they are. Also it is not always seen in the younger ages of a child. But to understand that people grow and when they are older, they come to the realization of many things and mostly about themselves.

Our society needs to have a deep introspection as to how we perceive one another. We need to instill Ubuntu and hold hands in combating these unjust actions by our people towards our brothers and sisters. A group divided is a group easily conquered.

by Zukhanye Mjekula

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