Perceptions and attitudes regarding “corrective rape” among lesbian students at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
Post-apartheid South Africa is a country filled with conflicting ideas. While the Constitution enshrines the rights of sexual minorities, homophobic attitudes tend to reflect discriminatory behaviour within society. Homosexuality has been defined as un-African and news reports suggest that black lesbians are a particularly vulnerable minority in the country. While much research has focused on violence directed against black lesbians living in South African townships, this study focuses on the lived experiences of black lesbians in a university environment. South African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are considered safe spaces where students can express their sexuality more freely. For this reason I have chosen to examine the realities of an under-researched community, black lesbian students at the University of the Free State (UFS). The study has relied on a qualitative research design and semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight participants who come from different backgrounds but all study at the UFS. Data was transcribed and a thematic analysis was used to identify themes. Prominent themes that emerged during this process include: 1) silence around lesbian identity, 2) visibility and lesbian identity, 3) physical environment and lesbian identity.