Lesbians in South Africa are being dragged off the street and raped in an effort to "correct" them, Sky News reports.

Sky News has found evidence of widespread abuse against the lesbian community — resulting in a new trend of so-called "corrective rape".

In the the township of Khayelitsha, on the outskirts of Cape Town, Sky spoke to a group of women who said they live in fear of their lives. All of them said they know someone who has been violently dragged off the streets and raped because they had come out as a lesbian.

Funeka Solidaat said she had been attacked on two occasions — and on the second time she was raped.

She said the men covered their faces with balaclavas and that she had been repeatedly threatened with rape in the township.

Funeka believed it was only a matter of time before it happened — and then it did.

But what shocked her even more, she said, was the attitude of the police. She was made to feel like "a laughing stock" when she reported the crime. Officers didn't bother to finish taking a statement from her, she said.

Funeka was part of a group of women Sky News met at a safe house in Khayelitsha township. As they talked, it became clear the so-called motive for the attack was to "correct" them.

Desire Dudu told Sky she had come out as a lesbian but, in her view, you risk your life in South African society if you make your sexuality clear.

Click here for more on this story from Sky News.