What will appear as shocking news to some is actually a grim reality that others in India have been living with. ‘Corrective rape’ was a term coined in South Africa, where such rapes are rampant. According to the crisis intervention team of LGBT Collective in Telangana, fifteen cases of corrective rape were reported in India over the last five years.
“We came across such cases not because they reported the rape, but because they sought help to flee their homes” said Vyjayanti Mogli, a member of crisis intervention. In most cases, the rapists are family members, which is why the rapes go unreported.
It is hard to imagine what trauma the victims feel, knowing that family members planned and participated in their rape. For families, corrective rape is a way of ‘disciplining’ or ‘curing’ a gay person. The rapist can be the brother, father or even a cousin.
In south India, marriages between cousins are common. Many girls are ‘engaged’ to their cousins right after birth. If the girl grows up and identifies as a lesbian, then her would-be husband is often roped in to ‘cure’ her by having forcible sex with her.
Deepthi Tadanki, a Hyderabadi filmmaker, is making a film on corrective rape called ‘Satyavati’. The film is based on real life incidents but Tadanki needs more funding to complete it. Deepthi wrote to NGOs to get help with statistics on corrective rapes in India but didn’t hear back from any of them.