Our expert says:
Gay, lesbian and bisexual expert
Hi Vivi and thanks for your message,
Sadly, the situation you describe occurs daily and is a sad reflection on the level of prejudice, intolerance and ignorance in our society, in spite of our liberal Constitution. The most important thing is to ensure that your cousin is physically safe from harm, and that she feels physically and emotionally safe where she is staying now. I urge your cousin to make contact with the Gay & Lesbian Helpline, on (021) 4 222 500 any day between 1 pm and 9 pm. Simply leave a message and the counsellor on duty will return the call, so that you don't have to pay for the call. Alternatively, you can call the Pretoria-based Counselling and Information Line on (012) 344 5108 Monday to Thursday, and they do accept reverse-charge calls. The counsellor will speak your cousin through the situation and assist her to identify various options, in addition to offering her emotional support.
If possible, please inform us here on this forum in which city or town your cousin is living.
Currently there is no shelter specifically for the lesbian and gay community in South Africa. We often experience difficulty in placing lesbian or gay individuals in existing shelters, since these facilities are frequently homo-prejudiced or homophobic. Many are managed by churches that expose lesbians or gays to secondary trauma. A shelter for gay and lesbian people will be established in Cape Town soon, with the founding of the Pride Shelter Trust by Cape Town Pride.
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