The Rose has Thorns

“…and he started bashing me…
I was just helpless…And when he started undressing me and saying he wants to rape me … then I said, ‘You might as well kill me’…”
(hate crime survivor)

Same Sex Marriage

The Constitutional Court Hearing – A Brief on the Same Sex Marriage Campaign

On the 17th of May 2005, the Constitutional Court heard an application from 18 different applicants, including Forum for the Empowerment of Women, on the right to choose to marry for lesbian and gay people in South Africa. This follows the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal on the 30th of November 2004, that the common law definition of marriage should be developed to include lesbian and gay people. The current definition states
“Marriage is a voluntary union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others for life.”

Sexual Offences Bill

During Women’s Month 2005, Forum for the Empowerment of Women organised an awareness week on the Sexual Offences Bill and how it applies to lesbian women’s experiences of hate crimes, especially rape and sexual assault. At the same time, FEW officially joined the National Working Group set up to ensure passage of the Bill.

The objectives of the awareness week, which ran from 15 to 21 August, were to:

1. Raise awareness, and a sense of the importance, of the Sexual Offences Bill within the xxlesbian women constituency in Gauteng, through creative arts, advocacy and information xxsharing
2. Make a call to the Minister of Justice to bring back the Sexual Offences Bill for discussion in xxxthe Justice Portfolio Committee’s agenda in Parliament
3. Collect more signatures in support of the petition for anti-hate crimes legislation in South xxxAfrica
4. Engage with issues facing survivors of hate crimes, specifically, rape and sexual assault xxxand its resulting consequences, and /design strategies to address these issues through xxxpolicy and law reform

The primary activity of the week was a series of workshops on different aspects of violence affecting lesbian women. Most of these were presented by FEW, while POWA partnered us on a training workshop for service providers.


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