‘Hunted for my sexuality’: How social media is fuelling homophobic attacks in Mali

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08/22/2019

The film is grainy but the viewer can make out shadows looming over a woman cowering in fear. Men are shouting, hitting and demanding that their victim admits she is gay. A few neighbours walk past. They carry on as if nothing is happening. The woman struggles to regain her balance, arms protecting her head from the blows. The white trainers used as weapons glow in the dark. So do the lights of the many smartphones filming her. “Stop it, it’s enough,” someone says. “This is what you called me for, right?” his accomplice replies. The majority wants to carry on. In a final blow, the men throw the woman back onto the pavement and strip her naked, snapping the final, most humiliating pictures they will use to feed the anti-LGBT pages mushrooming on Malian social media.

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