The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
TS, MSF, ZM, VR, ISS, and SALBWRT all participated in the study design. Data collection was conducted by SALBWRT, supported by TS, ZM, VR, ISS. TS and MSF conducted the statistical analyses and drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Experiences of forced sex have been shown to be prevalent in Southern Africa. Negative outcomes of forced sex have been documented in general populations of women and men and include alcohol abuse, drug use, mental health problems, mental distress, sexual health problems and poor overall health. This study is the first to examine experiences of forced sex and associated health problems among lesbian and bisexual women in Southern Africa.
This study is based on data collected as part of a collaborative endeavor involving various Southern African community-based organizations. Lesbian and bisexual women in four Southern African countries participated in a cross-sectional survey, for a total study sample of 591.
Nearly one-third of participants had been forced to have sex at some time in their lives. Thirty-one percent of all women reported to have experienced forced sex at least once in their life: 14.9% reported forced sex by men only; 6.6% reported forced sex by women only; 9.6% had had forced sexual experiences with both men and women. Participants experienced forced sex by men as more serious than forced sex by women; forced sex by women was more likely to involve intimate partners compared to forced sex by men. Participants who experienced forced sex by men were more likely to report drug problems, mental distress and lower sense of belonging. Forced sex by women was associated with drinking problems and mental distress. Having experienced forced sex by both men and women was associated with lower sense of belonging to the LGBT community, drug use problem and mental distress.
The findings indicate that forced sex among Southern African women is a serious issue that needs further exploration. Clinicians should be made aware of the prevalence and possible consequences of forced sex among lesbian and bisexual women. Policies and community interventions should be designed to address this problem.
Human Rights Watch. “We’ll show you you’re a woman”: violence and discrimination against black lesbians and transgender men in South Africa. New York: Human Rights Watch; 2011.
Martin A, Kelly A, Turquet L, Ross S. Hate crimes: the rise of corrective rape in South Africa. London: ActionAid; 2009.
Penn D. South African activists speak out on “corrective rape”. Lesbian News. 2011;36(9):12.
Reddy V, Potgieter C-A, Mkhize N. Cloud over the rainbow nation: ‘corrective rape’and other hate crimes against black lesbians. HSRC Rev. 2007;5(1):10–1.
World Health Organization. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2013.
Krug EG, Mercy JA, Dahlberg LL, Zwi AB. The world report on violence and health. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2002.
Littleton HL, Grills-Taquechel AE, Buck KS, Rosman L, Dodd JC. Health risk behavior and sexual assault among ethnically diverse women. Psychol Women Quart. 2013;37(1):7–21. CrossRef
Lewis RJ, Milletich RJ, Kelley ML, Woody A. Minority stress, substance use, and intimate partner violence among sexual minority women. Aggress Violent Behav. 2012;17(3):247–56. CrossRef
Beresford B, Schneider H, Sember R. Constitutional authority and its limitations: the politics of sexuality in South Africa. In: Parker R, Petchesky R, Sember R, editors. SexPolitics: reports from the front lines. New York: Sexuality Policy Watch; 2010. p. 197–246.
Cock J. Engendering gay and lesbian rights: the equality clause in the South African constitution. Women Stud Int Forum. 2003;26(1):35–45. CrossRef
Thoreson RR. Somewhere over the rainbow nation: gay, lesbian and bisexual activism in South Africa. J South Afr Stud. 2008;34(3):679–97. CrossRef
Human Rights Watch. More than a name: state-sponsored homophobia and its consequences in Southern Africa. New York City: Human Rights Watch; 2003.
U.S. Department of State. Sexual orientation/gender identity references: human rights reports for 2009. Washington: Department of State; 2010.
Morgan R, Wieringa S. Tommy boys, lesbian men and ancestral wives: conclusions from the African women’s life story project. Cult Health Sex. 2005;7:S56.
Rule S, Mncwango B. Rights or wrongs? An exploration of moral values. In: Pillay U, Roberts B, Rule S, editors. South African social attitudes: changing times, diverse voices. Pretoria: HSRC; 2006. p. 252–76.
Hatcher S, Stubbersfield O. Sense of belonging and suicide: a systematic review. Can Child Adolesc Psychiatr Rev. 2013;58(7):432–6.
Saewyc EM, Bauer GR, Skay CL, Bearinger LH, Resnick MD, Reis E, et al. Measuring sexual orientation in adolescent health surveys: evaluation of eight school-based surveys. J Adolesc Health. 2004;35(4):345-e1. CrossRef
Storms MD. Sex-role identity and its relationships to sex-role attributes and sex-role stereotypes. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1979;37(10):1779–89. CrossRef
Mayfield D, Mcleod G, Hall P. Cage questionnaire - validation of a new alcoholism screening instrument. Am J Psychiat. 1974;131(10):1121–3. PubMed
Condit M, Kitaji K, Drabble L, Trocki K. Sexual-minority women and alcohol: Intersections between drinking, relational contexts, stress, and coping. J Gay Lesbian Soc Ser. 2011;23(3):351–75. CrossRef
Checo GD. The invisibility of violence against lesbian women: the case of corrective rape. Cult Health Sex. 2011;13:S23.
Padmanabhanunni A, Edwards D. Victimisation in the lives of lesbian-identified women in South Africa: implications for clinical assessment and treatment. J Psychol Afr. 2013;23(3):385–92.
- Histories of forced sex and health outcomes among Southern African lesbian and bisexual women: a cross-sectional study
M Somjen Frazer
Southern African Lesbian and Bisexual Women Research Team
- BioMed Central
Neu im Fachgebiet Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe
Meistgelesene Bücher aus dem Fachgebiet
e.Med Kampagnen-Visual, Mail Icon II