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Corrective Rape: Societal Flaws to Address

Jul 28,2022

CDC's National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey reported that sexual minorities face equal or higher rates of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) than heterosexuals. Often we talk about sexual violence, but somehow, we forget to address the higher risks that people belonging to the LGBT community face all across the world purely for their sexual orientation. 

40% of lesbians and 61% of bisexual women face rape, physical violence, stalking, and other crimes from an intimate partner while 26% of gay men and 37% of bisexual men experience IPV. Although all demographics go through the risks of experiencing sexual violence, the LGBT community faces alienation from society in numerous aspects, which increases their risk of experiencing a sexual assault. 

The homophobic society that we live in discriminates against people on the bases of their sexual orientation. Consequently, LGBT people face poverty and marginalization at much higher rates than heterosexuals, which is also one of the causes of them being the prey of sexual violence. 

All types of rapes cause physical, mental, emotional, and psychological harm to the victims. Sexual assault has an everlasting impact that leaves the victims with a trauma to live with. Just like other demographics, LGBT people have been facing the atrocities of Corrective Rape for a long time now. The worst part about the crime is that it is being performed by society including parents who think that the sexual orientation of their children could be changed by forced sexual intercourse. 

What is Corrective Rape? 

Corrective rape or curative/homophobic rape is done with the intention of 'correcting' the sexual orientation of a person. The aim of the perpetrator through forced sexual intercourse is to enforce heterosexuality over a person belonging to the LGBT community. The hate crime was first identified in South Africa. Primarily, the crime took place against lesbian females. However, in the present day, the significance has changed and it is widely used to refer to rape against the LGBT community to ensure corrective sexual orientation. 

Victims of corrective rape go through mental and physical trauma, which can even hamper their regular life. The discrimination toward the LGBTQ community in schools, colleges, workplaces, and access to public healthcare is already a big concern. Studies suggest that 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans face discrimination of some kind. The marginalization from society has such detrimental effects on their mental and emotional health that more than half of LGBTQ Americans choose to hide their personal relationships. Going through such grave differentiation and the leading adversities in society, corrective rape can lead people to anxiety, depression, PTSD, or even suicidal thoughts/suicide. Furthermore, it directly impacts the self-worth and self-esteem of a survivor. 

What Might Be The Societal Flaws? 

Societal notions are the biggest cause of this dysfunctional thinking. The thought that heterosexuality can be enforced or ignited through forced sexual intercourse demonstrates the perverse nature of the thoughts that prevail in our society. The female victims are forced to experience the pleasure of sex through rape to correct their homosexuality.

We have been brought up thinking that sexual relationships are possible in the opposite sex or heterosexual relationships. The roots of these flawed thoughts lie in the misinterpretations of our mythologies where one is forced to see other sexualities as something erroneous and inaccurate, and even punishable in society. Fanaticism is so deep-rooted that people fail to question the righteousness of their actions and the deleterious impacts that follow. LGBTQ males are sometimes even gang-raped where the perpetrators wish to leave them with a traumatic impact that they fear practicing homosexuality. 

The society we live in perceives heterosexuality as conditioning that can be fixed by forcing heterosexual intercourse on gay men and women, while completely ignoring the scientific causes of homosexuality. Ample evidence exists that confirms sexuality as a genetic byproduct instead of being influenced by the environment. However, despite much research, people believe that sexuality is driven by a person's environment and can be changed or corrected by making changes to their environment. 

The problem additionally lies in the roles that genders play in our society. A gay man is considered effeminate and goes through discrimination and marginalization from society. Many advertisements and movies portray a 'real man' as a stud who constantly attracts women while a homosexual man is depicted as someone 'flawed' and 'weak'. On the other hand, women are most often depicted as fragile while a homosexual female is portrayed as someone with masculine nature and no friends. These representations play a massive role in shaping our thoughts and igniting hatred towards LGBTQ people. Only a few people choose to think and question the veracity of circumstances while many just opt to accept the societal norms and notions. The hatred or phobia associated with the sexual orientation later gives rise to such sexually violent crimes. 

Living free and safe is a right of all human beings. Governments need to take into consideration the prevailing threat to humanity which is corrective rape and focus on criminalizing the act. Having laws and programs against crime does not solve the problem, instead, there is a dire need for implementation of the laws. The crime is not only sad and heinous in its nature, but it rather has the capability to take the life of innocent individuals like Brandon Teena, the well-known victim of corrective rape, who was primarily sexually violated, and later murdered for being a trans man. What makes our society repudiate and hate someone different from the 'normal' is the biggest concern. The malicious thought process that terms heterosexuality as 'normal' while homosexuality as something 'aberrant' is the cause of rapes in the LGBTQ community.