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Dr. Shock – South African who Applied Gay Aversion Therapy – arrested in Canada!

By Melanie Nathan, 3-28-10. A prominent Calgary psychiatrist has been suspended by the province’s medical regulatory body while he is under investigation by police. As it happens Dr. Aubrey Levin, 71, an adjunct professor at the University of Calgary,  listed as a clinical psychiatrist at Peter Lougheed Centre, was taken into police custody Tuesday afternoon, is an expat from South Africa.

Levin happens to have earned himself  a title from Post Apartheid South Africa – that makes one cringe at the thought that he has been in his current role for approximately 20 plus years.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta suspended Levin over concerns for patient safety, a spokeswoman said.”We have suspended him pending a full investigation,” said college spokeswoman Kelly Eby. “He is not allowed to provide medical care or work with patients.” He was arrested for allegedly sexual assaulting a male patient.

He was first licensed as a psychiatrist in South Africa in 1969, according to his resume from 2000. He was licensed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan in 1995, and then Alberta’s college licensed him in 1998.   At press time, no charges had been laid.

In the 2000 resume, Levin lists himself as a consultant for the Correctional Service of Canada, working with parolees.  Maybe that is where he will finish up.

However the past for Levin seems far more incendiary because Dr. Aubry Levin was so  famous in South Africa for his use of electric shock therapy that he was known as “Dr. Shock”, at one time, a relatively common method to try to “cure” gay people was to administer painful electric shock aversion therapy.  He used it on gays and also for the apartheid government while he  was a  psychiatrist in the SA  Military, The South African Defense Force , SADF , apparently using his methods on pacifists and dissidents.

This barbaric method was first used against gay men in 1935, and it continued, by some reports, up through the 1980’s. By the 1980’s, most efforts to “cure” homosexuality using the barbaric and punitive method had largely come to an end. But not everywhere; It was still employed in apartheid South Africa right up until the fall of the regime (1990.)

Among the allegations levelled at Levin was that he used severe electric shocks as part of “aversion therapy” that was supposed to “cure” homosexuals. “Political deviants” who refused to bear arms in the apartheid forces were also referred to Levin, who commanded the major psychiatric wing of the military hospital at Voortrekkerhoogte in Pretoria and rose to become the apartheid government’s head of mental health.

Levin fled South Africa just before its transition to democracy, and settled in Calgary where he became a Canadian citizen. He refused to testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission where it was alleged he had been guilty of gross human rights abuses. Once settled in Canada, Levin became an expert witness, performing court-ordered psychiatric assessments of convicted offenders awaiting sentence.

Because he did not admit to his crimes during the Truth and Reconciliation process he may still be subject to prosecution in South Africa for his crimes against humanity.  South African gay activists are calling for justice.

His current arrest in Canada based on sexual abuse allegations of one patient may not do the required call any justice and activists must keep looking for angles to bring this man back to South Africa to face all the people he abused.

Truth and reconciliation was designed for just that – but fleeing showed that he was not remorseful for his actions.

Since apartheid ended the South African Constitution is one of the few in the world protecting sexual orientation against discrimination.  Hopefully the Zuma government – which does not have a great record on gay and lesbian civil rights, will seek Justice for those victims whom Levine failed to honor at the end of the apartheid era.

Here are the comments by GLAD:

The charges he is currently facing in Canada are not nearly sufficient to make up for his alleged activities committed at 1 Military Hospital and the alleged heinous violations of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender conscripts, conscientious objectors and others whom the Apartheid government considered undesirable. The charges he might face are as chilling as any which would be levelled against his Nazi namesake, who disappeared without a trace, never to be brought to justice.

We ask that Aubrey Levin not be allowed to go unpunished for his alleged crimes. We ask that he face the full might of Canadian law for his crimes there – and the full might of South African law here.

We are aware that Canada is not South Africa – that Canada cannot charge him for crimes committed in South Africa – all Canada can do is charge him for the crimes he committed there. Of course, it is up to South Africa to charge him here and ask for his extradition. We ask that South Africa do so – and that Canada cooperate with any such request. We ask that should South Africa not pursue this matter, that Levin be made to face trial under the auspices of the United Nations for crimes against humanity.

We demand justice for the alleged heinous crimes he committed with total impunity and under the full protection of the Apartheid government.

How many lives he might have destroyed exactly is unknown but it is estimated and believed by some that 900 LGBT people and others were subjected to his torture, botched and forced sex-change operations after his referrals and aversion therapy to “cure” gay conscripts – all of which took place long after homosexuality stopped being viewed as a mental disorder by the medical community. Many, many of his “patients” committed suicide.

There is one other question that bothers me – Levin didn’t appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the early 1990′s – WHY was he not charged his alleged heinous crimes then? Why was he allowed to go free and carry on with his life?

Was it because he only committed these crimes against White people?

Was it because he only committed crimes against gay and transgender people?

Why did Canada allow the alleged criminal to emigrate into its respectable medical profession – and apparently to continue to spread his ugliness there?

Was it because transgender people in Canada still have no legal protections and are still erroneously classified as “mentally ill” and have to jump through all kinds of unreasonable hoops and hurdles just to get their gender reassignment done?

Please see the articles below for more detailed information on the alleged atrocities Levin committed while in South Africa. These have been well-detailed in numerous books and documentaries and personal life stories of some of his victims, and yet no definitive action has ever been taken against him.

We demand justice, if not only for surviving victims, but even more so for those who committed suicide and had their lives ruined and for their families and friends to find closure, and to restore the dignity of the South African LGBT community.

South African LGBTQI organization GLAD asks people to the following via email to express displeasure and request action against Dr Shock!,,, info@;, SpkrOff@;, BrisoS@;,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, kinsen@sen.;,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

By Melanie Nathan

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4 Responses to Dr. Shock – South African who Applied Gay Aversion Therapy – arrested in Canada!

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  2. Anthony

    March 29, 2010 at 2:25 am

    While the thought of Dr. Shock being broguht to justice is warranted, I can tell you from first hand experience, as an American in a bi-national marriage, living in exile in South Africa, that the current Zuma administration is USELESS and NOTHING will be done at all from this end.

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