2013 Feb.10: Raped For Who I Am

A review

“Raped for who I am” has to be the most difficult documentary I have ever had to watch in recent times. I have found soothing in my ability to remaining oblivious to the realities that pose a great threat to Black Lesbians within our townships. It pains me to admit that we have boxed ourselves in these cocoons where we, queer people of colour especially, do not want to think of matters pertaining to “hate crimes”. I believe that there are so many underlying issues that have been brewing for many years within the LGBT community in South Africa. In the same sentiments as many women who are outraged that we live in a society where an anomaly like rape has gained a status of normality where perpetrators have become so “bored” with their horrid acts that they have resorted to disembowelment – “Raped for who I am” is a difficult watch!

I cannot deny how rattled I am about the reality of “hate crimes” after having watched this film. I think it is crucial to sometimes sober up to such realities as they exist. I have had to remind myself that not being in certain environments entails exclusion from being affected by such heinous actualities. The fact is I am black and I am lesbian and these acts of rape are happening to people who are exactly like myself – yet we seem to suffer from this disease of pretense and myopia where issues of rape transpire.

Bathini’s story is painful for me. Raped by her father, by friends and strangers – I cannot even begin to express my absolute soreness and disbelief in her journey. I am horrified at the level of NO assistance, LACK of support and the NON-EXISTENCE of protection from our police system if you are a Black Lesbian and have been raped. These are harsh realities of our existence and I guess it makes sense that we would rather be ignorant to such truths.

I watched “Raped for who I am” with a pinch of salt. The truth is I am stuck between places of wanting to do right but such moments remind me that I am a woman and FEAR occasionally has to be a companion – which is not right. It is scary and it is agonizing but it is our reality.

Hearing Keba, Mary, Bathini and Buhle’s story has left me questioning a lot of things.
I wondered why these acts happen largely within the black community?
Why are they conducted by friends and people we trust – our fathers? Why are they happening in townships?
Why are our white community members not assisting in the little attempts of uprising we as queer people of colour embark on?
Why are Black Lesbians who are not in any way prone to be exposed to such circumstances not doing anything about it?
What are we doing as a community to ensure sustainable impact in the country to say that “hate crimes” are not right?
Why have our attempts failed or were unable to minimize such acts in the marches we have had?
What are you doing? Most importantly – What am I doing?

The L Word
This word sneaks up on you
The master of the concept of confusion
Where little girls feel like little boys
Where they constantly pray to an ideology that rejects them
Hoping to erase the truth of their births
The truth of circumstances that birth
This word! 
Is the filth of societal dogma
It shapes and defines
It shape defines, it shapes definitions
It exists between YOUR truth and YOUR faith
Between your fate and your destiny
This word questions your pride
It takes refuge in closets, puppets itself on a stage of fear
Justified by shepherds who claim to walk with a rebel
That chilled with the dejected, That turned water into wine
Where those who feel normal
Where they constantly rape to refine 
This word!
The Kamikaze of consciousness
It places you at the bottom of anything living
It refuses to pardon you more so if your race is the same as mine
This word means you love but are denied to love
It means you choose to love, you choose to be
This word!
You are this word
When you say you are and you are bombarded 
By the curiosity of how you pleasure love
How you satisfy love,
How you make love
It has the holy ready to kill
For this word, Ready to destroy for this word
It somehow rests between hatred and sorrow
By those who are not this word,
Justified by shepherds who claim to walk with a rebel
That chilled with the dejected, That turned water into wine
It is an everlasting battle that will last till this breath is not mine
Till it longer defines
This word is you and I

(By Kutlwano Khali)

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4 Responses to 2013 Feb.10: Raped For Who I Am

  1. maureen majola says:

    Too often we as feminine lesbians we are regarded as confused and unsure of our sexuality.
    I relate to this article because I’ve heard people ask me questions like “who made me lesbian?” Why did I change? And this is really sickening because I get this from my fellow lgbti Community.

    Our dress code and way of living has become the only thing that people define us with.
    We are who we are,our clothes can never define us.

  2. Yes I understand where Hloxx comes from but one thing one should know is not everyone will make same choices based on same experiences, ones choice should be respected as I really doubt it that one can actually “fake” their feelings and be with someone they don’t want just because of previous experiences. As much as one would quoted “Tired of dating men and they would like to try lesbians” doesn’t mean those people do not have feelings, otherwise they would have chosen to stay single, for them trying lesbian means they do find lesbian women attractive.

    The referrence when one comes out is always that will lead to confusion to those who aren’t updated about the LGBTIQ society. Rather when one comes out make themselves reference of who a lesbian women is, which is a person who can be fat, short, tall, dark, wear skirts and so forth. The moment someone like Ellen or another butch lesbian is put in the picture, it all get confusing for the other person who is on the side as they will expect U to be exatly how Ellen is and if U are not, they will have it in their mind U are faking it. Not until the education system is upgraded in SA not only around LGBTIQ issues but broader we have to keep it simply and not box ourselves if there is no need.

    Great article xxx.

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