Killing A Woman For Being Gay Is Not OKFebruary 2, 2012 1 Comment
Four men in South Africa have been sentenced for the murder of a 19-year-old lesbian woman. She was stabbed and stoned to death in 2006. The court found that the girl was targeted due to her sexual orientation. Cases like this sadly are not uncommon in South Africa.
The Human Rights Watch claimed that South Africa is “desperately failing lesbian and transgender people” — despite the country’s liberal laws.
But this is perhaps an example of how a country’s laws of acceptance are neither representational of the society nor deterrents in conflicting behaviour.
While many groups would argue that violence is not the answer I think it warrants some thought. The men in this case were sentenced to 18 years in jail. If similar cases are any sort of indicator they will not serve their full sentence. The men in this case were prosecuted, but for every death that is punished how many are left unresolved?
The death penalty for violent hate crimes may be an abrupt awakening extreme homophobic people will respond to. Although this will always be a controversial topic I think there are very few people who hate homosexuals to the point that they would risk their own life.
Murder under any description is an offence deserving jail, and homophobic killings should be distinguished. While I don’t think violence is a long-term solution to anything, I feel if these offenders were made an example of it would send the message that their behaviour is unacceptable. Gay pride parades and legal same-sex marriages will only further fuel hatred for those with homophobic tendencies. Extreme views need extreme consequences or the message is lost.
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