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2012 National Women's Conference
19 October 2011
Carried as Amended

Conference agrees that violence against women is a crime. All women, regardless of their race or sexual orientation, have the right to live without fear and to be free from prejudice, discrimination and violence.

Conference is therefore appalled that in countries across the world, “corrective” rape takes place, where women are raped as a way of punishing and “curing” them of their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.

Much of the media focus has been on South Africa, where there are an estimated 500,000 rapes, hundreds of murders and countless beatings carried out every year. It is estimated that almost half of all South African women will be raped during their lifetime, and for every 25 men brought to trial for rape in South Africa, 24 walk free.

The wave of hate crimes against black lesbians is part of this epidemic of violence against women. Women who choose not to identify as heterosexual or percevied as being lesbian, bisexual or transgender are being victimised for daring to step outside the boundaries of what their families, communities and wider society prescribe for them. However, conference further notes that this practice is not limited to South Africa.

Conference therefore calls upon the national women’s committee to work with the UNISON LGBT committee, End Violence Against Women Coalition and other appropriate organisations to:

1)Raise awareness of this issue;

2)Lobby the UK government to ensure that their strategy on ending violence against women includes measures to address “corrective” rape at an international level;

3)Work with UNISON’s international committee to ensure that violence against women in all its manifestations is raised in the international arena and recognised as a human rights violation;

4)Liaise with our sister unions in South Africa to support them in action to challenge the cultural system which allows violence against women and “corrective” rape to take place unpunished.