Lesbian Couple Raped, Murdered, And Set On Fire In Horrific Attack In South Africa

Eight suspects have been charged in the attack on married couple Joey and Anisha van Niekerk.

A lesbian couple was raped, murdered, and set on fire in a brutal attack near their home in Mooinooi, South Africa.

Joey and Anisha van Niekerk left town for a funeral on December 10 but when the women never arrived, a search was started. Six days after their disappearance, authorities found couple's burned car.

Wynand van Niekerk/Facebook

Then, on December 28, police found the van Niekerk's charred remains on the side of the road near their home.

Police have arrested eight suspects, who are now standing on trial for murder: Jack Mokotedi, 18; Maruschka Opperman, 18; Mercia Witney Van Rooi, 21; Aaron Sithole, 23; Vincent Strydom, 29; Moses Rakubu, 33; Alex Mudau, 36; and Koos Strydom, 53.

They also facing charges of rape, kidnapping, robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm, and obstruction of justice. The Van Niekerks were married three years ago. Anisha's brother, Wynand, called the weeks following the couple's murder "nothing less than a nightmare."

South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of sexual assault, hovering at 500,000 a year, or one every 17 seconds. "Corrective rape" is increasingly employed to "turn" queer women straight.

"The men will rape you so you can taste how good it is to sleep with a man," one victim told the Independent in 2014. "They gonna really rape you badly to teach you a lesson—they think if they do that you will forget who you are."

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