Does it surprise us then that the culture of rape is just imbedded in our societies. The history of Zimbabwe is now marred by sexual violence on women and girls.
Sexual violence has become pervasive in all sections of our societies.
This is evidenced in social media that sustains the fact that: in Zimbabwe, every 90 minutes, a baby, a toddler, a child a girl, a young woman, a mother a grandmother is sexually mutilated, assaulted, experience sexual violence. It is therefore undeniable that rape is now the culture, the epidemic of rapes. You need to trace the origins of it; you will find that it came with the liberation struggle, from those liberation movements that purport to have liberated us.
When it comes to sexual abuse of women all the liberation movements are found wanting, are answerable to abuse and rape. So many young women died in cross fire because they have been abducted from their homes, some even forced to leave their homes, and going to the liberation war was in most cases not voluntary but were forced to go with the freedom fighters to neighbouring countries sorely as sex mules on their way to the designated freedom camps.
Is that not the irony of history? When the young girls were used and abused, were rotated, exchanged from one freedom fighter to the next, they are now then termed not only loose girls but criminals as they caused deaths of war commanders and freedom fighters. I know some girls who came to the struggle as virgins; they lost their v*rginity in most barbaric forms of abuse on girls. Most girls were abducted from schools under the pretext they wanted to go to war and fight for their freedom. So many women died of abortions, after the rape ordeal, some got pregnant, tried to abort using those non-clinical methods, died due to uncontrolled bleeding and infections. All these stories must be told without fear of retribution
Persistence of rapes in our societies has even attributed to misconceptions about abuse and rape of young girls, rape can cure HIV/AIDS! This HIV/AIDS cure culture of rape has desensitized men, they lack respect for women and growing girls and toddlers. To women, Zimbabwe is indeed becoming one of the most dangerous places in the Sub-Sahara. Alone going to the fields to work, or travelling long distances to get food, water, fuel can be a very dangerous exercise, that is where girls get raped in most cases.
In Zimbabwe rape is still used as a form of torture, just yesterday an article was on social media regarding Pastor Evan Mawarire; was threatened, with his wife will be raped and his children abducted! That is a "democratic Zimbabwe" for you.
In Zimbabwe, most men rape: members of parliament, police, pastors, fathers, brothers, cousins, uncles, guardians, soldier's rape women and young girls. Just yesterday we read in the social media: some Prophet Walter Magaya was arrested and arraigned before the court over rape allegations. The next day: Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Nyasha Chikwinya was part of the congregation that cheered Prophet Magaya as he walked in that auditorium. For once I am speechless! This is Zanu PF Minister for Women's Affairs who shows not sensitivity towards what is happening to women in her portfolio!
During the struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe, there was absence of law against violence on women and young girls in war zones. When some freedom fighters entered the country and they saw girls and young women, they automatically felt it was their right and they could be violated and raped. At the front, there was absolute lawlessness taking place in most villages. They would order the villagers to cook for them, ordered to slaughter the last goat or chickens.
Not all freedom fighters raped sure.
After meals they selected the young women they found good for them, mostly young ones were preferred. "THEY WANTED IT, THEY NEEDED IT, THEY HAD IT THEIR WAY" Otherwise it was all-night pungwes resulting in alarming Smith's soldiers that came and randomly bombed the civilian villages mostly, as the freedom fighters will have sneaked away leaving the villagers vulnerable to military abuse by the Rhodesian soldiers. These are stories that should be told about the freedom war in Zimbabwe.
Because rape is closely related to conflicts, all kinds of rape were committed in pre- independence era: punitive, rape, status rape, exchange rape, involuntary abduction of individuals as sex slaves. Under normal circumstances some war commanders are supposed to face crime against humanity meted on women and girls during the struggle.
Immediately after independence there was genocide rape of barbaric proportions in Mathebelelands and Midlands. Most women got pregnant leaving children who do not have birth certificates to this day. Some women never want to come forward and admit that they were indeed raped during the Gugurahundi atrocities.
George Charamba is trying to impose a STIGMA on Comrade Joyce Mujuru so that the country is outraged about her sexual encounters during the struggle. George Charamba is using sex to HUMILIATE AND INTIMIDATE Comrade Joyce Mujuru AND PUT HER to silence. Mr. Sithole rightly puts it: Charamba is using sex to "shame" Comrade Joyce Mujuru "what kind of mindset contrives such puerile schemes? Sithole asks.
Having Comrade Joyce Mujuru been split so bare, nak'd at over 60 years of age, opening scars of sexual abuse when she was 16 years. She is today accused of deaths of many people; at 16 years of age? Then THERE IS something fundamentally wrong with our culture that sees wrong, accuses a teenager for the miscalculations of whole commanders in the battlefield. The commanders "slept" of duty and then were ambushed by the Rhodesian forces: now it's all Runaida's fault. (Because she loved men so much!) This is laughable, a bad taste of a joke at best. Joyce could never have initiated sex with those military commanders at her age. The commanders had the upper hand, demanded those girls to do what those men, military men wanted from them, and were sex slaves in the sense of the word. Charamba by those none sense accusations, he reached the lowest bar, should remove his first name George from his birth certificate and he remains with Charamba so that he thinks better perhaps. Zanu is running scared, scared of the woman called Runaida Joyce Mujuru. One day Solomon will have a smile in his grave, for all the work his wife is doing, taking Zanu PF by the horns.
Charamba plays with the fact that in our culture the person who is sexually loose is always a woman and not a man. In retrospect some Zimbabwean men are very loose when it comes to sex. He is cocksure, by mud-sliding Joyce with sex accusations, the people will react negatively to her as the President of a new opposition that is gaining traction throughout the country. Mai Mujuru is making inroads; the majority of the people are warming up to her. Her maiden rallies are well attended and it is for this reason that she is rattling feathers; she has to be dressed down by Charamba. Zanu PF is running scared. She chose her words well when she said, in Bulawayo "yimi uma Ndlovu." She apologized to the people for the atrocities she was part of during her time in the government. Which government official of Zanu PF has ever apologized for the Gugurahundi atrocities in Zimbabwe? It takes a woman to say sorry!
It's high time; however, we women came up with our stories of abuse in these liberation movements. Abuse and rape of women during the bush war has been kept under the carpet for too long and nobody dares to say the truth about what really transpired for fear of being labelled unpatriotic. It's not patriotism to sexually abuse women dear comrades. The question is why were women recruited and by abducting them in these liberation movements. These military men wanted women in their midst to serve them as sex slaves. Let all those painful stories be told so that our future generation know that freedom through the barrel of the gun has some serious social consequences, can affect the most vulnerable niches; women and children.
Independence of Zimbabwe overshadowed serious issues relating to the abuse of women during the struggle. Women too are scared to come forward and tell it how they were abused by the people who purported to liberate them. This violence against women and girls and children today is wholly the product of our past liberation conflict, the struggle to liberate Zimbabwe: women and girls paid the absolute price.
Women please come forward and tell it all, only then can this country heal. The coming dispensation has a big task of demilitarising the minds of comrades, sensitize and respect towards women, girls, toddlers, and babies. Sex with a virgin is not a cure for HIV/AIDS.
According to latest statistics supplied by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Office (ZimStat) at least 15 women are raped daily in the country.
The ZimStat report, titled Quarterly Digest of Statistics, says 2 195 cases of rape were reported in the first five months of 2012. 1 610 cases of indecent assault were recorded in 2011, with 2 484 and 1 124 in 2010 and 2009 respectively. Anele Ndebele of the Matabeleland Aids Council said the statistics were a cause for concern as it invariably meant there was an increase in the transmission of HIV.