The parents of a 17-year-old boy have laid rape charges against two KaMsogwaba residents.
The names of the two accused men of raping the boy are known to OurHealth, but the men have since disappeared.
However, one of the accused’s close friends, whose name is being withheld to protect her identity, said the charge was not unexpected.
“I am not surprised that both of these guys are accused of rape,” said the woman, who added she had been worried about the pair’s behaviour since they began using drugs.
Both of the accused are well known in the community and open about their sexual orientation. Recently, they started using drugs such as nyaope, whoonga, cocaine and glue and this has apparently caused personality changes.
The alleged rape was discovered when the boy’s mother called her son’s phone to find out where he was – only to have it answered by a man whose voice she recognised.
“I was surprised and asked him why he had answered my son’s phone,” she said. “He said ‘we are dating and we are busy, so stop interrupting us,’ and he just dropped the phone.”
When her son eventually returned home, she asked him where his phone was and he “started crying without any reason and said he had lost it,” said his mother.
She admits to beating the boy in an attempt to get to the “the truth,” but when he did not say anything, she asked her brother to talk to him and this is when the boy said he had been raped.
According to the boy, a few months ago he took his phone to one of the accused to have it fixed.
However, every time the boy went to fetch the phone, the man would say he had not fixed it. Instead, he offered the boy drugs, which the boy accepted.
The boys admits to returning to the man’s house a number of times to “smoke drugs.” However, he says that the last time he went to the house, one of the accused touched him inappropriately and he then passed out. When he woke up, he felt sore and realised that he had been raped but was too embarrassed to report it.
Sibusiso Mahlangu, who is openly gay in the community, said the alleged rape was a setback for gay rights.
“The Treatment Action Campaign and other NGOs have fought against stigma and discrimination, and for gays and lesbians to be accepted in the community,” Mahlangu said. “But the mistake of one gay man can take us back to where we started.”
“I hope the community wouldn’t blame all gays,” he added.
The boy’s family has opened a case of sexual assault with the police and an investigation is ongoing. Meanwhile, the boy has moved in with his father and is receiving counselling.
While seldom spoken about, male rape may be more common than many people think.
A 2009 study by the Medical Research Council found that about ten percent of men surveyed in South Africa reported experiencing sexual violence at the hands of another man.
In the study, many male survivors reported being forced to engage in acts such as masturbation or thigh sex, in which a man placed his penis in between their thighs. About 30 percent reported being anally or orally raped.
People who have been raped should report to their clinic as soon as possible and should be offered an HIV test. If survivors test negative for HIV, they should be offered post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection but this must be done within 72 hours of the rape.