- Southern Africa
- Sexuality - Tradition - Crime
Shock over Zimbabwe’s hard gang-raping women
An unprecedented high rate of women gang-raping men in Zimbabwe has baffled the country and has forced police boss to institute full scale investigations into the motive.
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri says the force is still trying to establish the motive behind the increase in the number of cases of women gang-raping men.
Shocked citizens say the bizarre trend appears to be driven more by superstition. The prowling women are believed to carry condoms, which they take away after intercourse, ostensibly to use the semen for ritual purposes. But like in most African countries, a man admitting to rape by a woman in Zimbabwe is seen to be embarrassing.
Nevertheless, an increasing number have in recent weeks found themselves doing the unthinkable – going to the police to report being raped by a woman.
In the past two months, a recurrent modus operandi is used by women rapists: unsuspecting men are offered a ride, only to find themselves being driven to secluded bushes where they are forced to have sex at gun point.
Such cases started surfacing late last year when a middle aged man reported to the police in the Midlands that he was raped, spent a week in a smoke-filled hut.
The married man and father of three said he was given a daily dose of porridge laced with an unknown powder to enable him to have sex with the two armed women. He was later dumped on the roadside with little energy after the week-long ordeal.
And although the police refused to investigate his report, an increase in such cases has alarmed police. The latest case which could have forced police into action was reported last Friday when a 26-year-old police offer became the latest victim in a string of sexual assaults by gangs of women on men.
On Thursday, October 7, Chihuri said, "Women seem to be fast overtaking men. We now have a few men going to the police stations reporting such cases. I don’t know why and maybe as time goes on we will know why," he said.
The police chief warned that the law would deal with anyone who failed to respect it. "Let me warn all social miscreants who have taken it upon themselves to soil the country’s social fabric, cultural norms and values by perpetrating abominable and weird activities of women sexually molesting men, sometimes at gunpoint and those that have hogged the lime light by engaging in shocking incestuous relations, to stop the practices forthwith.
"Those found on the wrong side of the law will be professionally dealt with accordingly without fear or favour," Chihuri said.
In August, Claude Mararike, sociology lecturer at the UZ and a former head of the Zimbabwe National Association of Traditional Healers was quoted saying, “We are a very superstitious country and I suspect people who do this (rape) may want to use the male semen for some rituals”
Rituals are not new in Zimbabwe, but they have for long been confined to the business sector where murders were carried out for body parts, with the belief that this would make a business flourish.
Two weeks ago two armed women forced a 44-year-old man into having sex with them while another man stood guard after giving him a lift to Karoi town from Westgate in the capital Harare.
In July police reported that four women forced themselves on a 25-year-old Masvingo man at gunpoint after forcing him to drink an unknown concoction that afterwards made him pass out for eight hours.
Some men believe the women force the men into having sex just for fun and dismissed that this was driven by superstition or desire to get rich quickly.
A month earlier, a report was carried in the media of three women who kidnapped an 18-year-old man in Chitungwiza town and forced him to be intimate with one of them. Of all the places, they chose to commit the heinous act at a cathedral in Harare’s city centre.