The Aversion Project
- Year(s) Conducted: 1969/1970
- Nation Involved: South Africa
South Africa is known for its racist Apartheid Era obviously. While America and other nations have a dark past involving race, South Africa also has a horrible history with other people too. Specifically, their treatment of homosexual people during Apartheid was appalling. While governments experimenting on their own people is a common theme here, it has mostly been about race or class. In this situation, it was all about trying to “cure” homosexuality by force.
The man put in charge of this was Dr. Aubrey Levin, who was an Army Colonel and psychologist. The South African government rounded up several people by force for him to test. He often used electroconvulsive aversion therapy on these people. Levin felt it would “reorientate” them. Electrodes were strapped to a person’s upper arm with wires running to a dial from 1 to 10. Homosexual men were shown pictures of naked men whom they were encouraged to fantasize about. Then they were given several shocks to try and make them feel pain when thinking of men, but all of these tests backfired.