Rape: Zimbabwe’s Political Weapon
Rape: Zimbabwe’s Political Weapon
  • Park Yun-soo womennews reporter / trans by Kyoung
  • 승인 2013.08.19 08:24
  • 수정 2013-08-19 13:53
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Men divorce wives raped in politically motivated circumstances
In a deeply patriarchal country, women still considered as men’s property

 

People have called for political reforms because of Robert Mugabe who won another 5-year term to add to his 33 years in power.
People have called for political reforms because of Robert Mugabe who won another 5-year term to add to his 33 years in power.

In a deeply patriarchal country, women still considered as men’s property 

Zimbabwe has been run by Robert Mugabe(89) for the last 33 years. Until recently, he was at the center of attention as he was accused of vote rigging in a bid to continue his 33-year reign. This time, the country became the talk of the town as rape is being used to target male political activists through their wives. On the 12th, Eurasia Review which publishes news and analysis on events in Eurasia and Afro-Eurasia reported “To threaten opponents, rape is systematically used as a weapon against the wives of male political activists.” 

Rape as a weapon is attributable to a long-held patriarchal practice where a man pays a dowry to a woman’s family to get married and the woman is considered as property of men. 

“Rape has been used widely as political weapon” said Talent Jumo, the coordinator at Katswe Sisterhood, a movement of women fighting for equal rights in Zimbabwe. “It’s the reason why most women shy away from participating in politics. They choose to stay away from politics because once they step in they will be subjected to all kinds of sexual abuse. Such acts of political revenge are also committed against female politicians with a purpose of kicking old, bad habits. 

A more serious issue is that the majority of men whose wives were raped in politically motivated situations divorce their wives once they get to know of it. Their decision is based on the notion that women are responsible for inviting sexual attacks on themselves. Though supported by civic activists, divorced women live in painful memories of abuse. Netty Musanhu, Director of Musasa Project said, “Women do not report to the police because they know nothing will be done.” 

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