VICE tracks the corrective rapes of lesbians in Uganda back to the United States


Tonight on HBO’s investigative docu-show VICE, reporter Isobel Yeung travels to Uganda to highlight the horrific homophobia that has raged in the last several years, inspiring the Kill the Gays Bill that was prop0sed in 2014. What Isobel finds is that the churches and schools are not only lying to kids and adults alike about the “evils” that come along with homosexuality, but that American missionaries and politicians are part of the problem.

“A Prayer for Uganda” highlights the teachings of people like Pastor George Oduch, a Christian Fundamentalist who has taken his lead from anti-gay American Pastor Scott Lively. They attempt to educate Ugandans about how there’s “no difference between a terrorist and a homosexual,” and that homosexuality is just like pedophilia.

We see that young children are taught that a man who is with a man or a woman with a woman will be punished by the “10 different cancers that attack only homosexuals.” Plays are performed with a female student pretending to be a lesbian who pays her female classmate to have sex with her. It ends with her cradling her stomach in the fetal position on the ground crying, “I can never produce!”

“If a woman gets homosexuality with another woman, she cannot give birth,” a young girl tells Isobel.

The young Ugandans repeat what they are lectured in school and in church, but also in their communities, as the adults are even worse. In a repulsive scene, Isobel talks with a group of men about Ugandan culture.

“The first thing we hate is homosexuality,” a man tells Isobel. “If we find a woman with a woman, we pull out one and we do it to her. We have sex with her. We cannot allow a woman to have sex with a fellow woman.”

“Have you ever raped a lesbian?” Isobel asks.

“Yeah. Serious raping. Yes, because when it’s woman to woman, then it means you need real sex. And we get you a man who is seriously needing a woman and they rape you seriously. Woman and woman we rape, man and man we kill.”

Isobel is able to speak with a Ugandan gay woman on camera, although her face is blurred and voice distorted as to not reveal her identity. The woman had a secret girlfriend, but was found out by a group of men who raped her. When she found out she was pregnant soon after, her girlfriend left her. Now she says her child is “a blessing in disguise,” because now people won’t assume she’s a lesbian so quickly. In a heartbreaking moment, she shares that she won’t even tell her son she’s gay because she’s worried he will reject her.

Although the Kill the Gays bill was eventually ruled invalid by the Constitutional Court of Uganda, Member of Parliament David Bahati is seeking to pass a very similar one soon. In his chat with Isobel, he speaks of all of the support he has from American politicians.

“We have very good friends in people in the senate, and in congress,” David tells Isobel. “We have friends across America.”

One such friend is Oklahoma congressman James Inhofe, who David praises for sharing many of his values. Values like, “It’s a good sentiment to really hate what is wrong. Homosexuality is evil.” 

What VICE does very well in this piece is offer up the clear line of homophobia that still exists in America on through to the impressionable people of Uganda. And without offering suggestions on how to help stop this kind of hatred and violent crime on a global scale, it gives us at least a few names to start keeping watch over, and putting a stop to altogether. This is where you can find James Inhofe on Twitter. Let him know how you feel about his being a part of something advocating these very anti-Christian values.

Watch the full VICE episode including “A Prayer for Uganda” tonight at 11pm on HBO.