Everyday our girls are being raped or sexually assaulted and most cases sadly go unreported. We all know that the few that get reported to the authorities are either not pursued by the police or the victim is advised to keep silent lest she disgraces her family or herself.

Zimbabwe is still very much a patriarchal society. A society where rules and norms are dictated and governed by men.
A society which enables men to dominate women.
Any woman who wishes to go against this norm is punished severely. This punishment can take different forms but the most devastating violence against the female gender is rape.

Do you know that rape is primarily about power and the abuse of it? Rape is not about modesty neither is it about what the victim wore or her behavior or where she went to because as we all know, modestly dressed women are also raped all the time. How does one explain the rape of a minor? Or raping a woman in the “house of God”??

When a woman is raped, the perpetrator is simply saying the victim’s body is his to take with or without her consent and when a society as a whole fails to protect the victim and punish the perpetrator, that society is consenting that indeed the woman’s body is up for taking with or without her consent. Sad!

Everyday, we all make decisions consciously or unconsciously that perpetrate the culture of rape. Will share how…..

We are a society that blames the woman for her partner’s infidelity. When we think it is okay for a husband to forcefully have sex with his wife, we are obliquely perpetrating a rape culture by telling the woman that she is nothing but a pleasure object to her husband. This means that we are saying she has no right to consensual sex….her body is his to use when and how he pleases.

1) When a man cheats and we blame his wife, we are inadvertently telling her she made her husband vulnerable by denying him sex thus creating room for him to be tempted. By absolving the man from blame, we are telling the woman that not only must she be an object of pleasure for her husband at all time, she must also and always satisfy his needs.
2) When we ignore or defend a perpetrator at home or work who sexually violates the maid/cousin/employee, we are accomplices in the act of rape.

3) When we blame the rape victims, we are complicit in the act of rape.

4) When we refuse to punish the perpetrators, when we blame the devil, we are encouraging rape culture.

5) When we come out to say, “not all men are rapists” …..or we are silent about these ills because it doesn’t hit home or for whatever reason, we’re permitting and are part of this rape culture.

We need to do away with our mindsets and a system that embraces that woman is a possession and start to see women as humans with rights, consent and abilities.
We are crying for a society where ethical sexuality is promoted and supported.
And instead of telling the woman she is at fault for getting raped, we should teach our sons the importance of consent and that a woman can withdrew this consent at any time (even at the peak of pleasure).

Instead of telling rape victims not to speak up so as not to shame her family, we should create a society were victims are helped to overcome the trauma. We can also be more empathetic and accommodating to understand her tears, pains and trauma.
Instead of telling the young girl she “asked” for it because of the way she was dressed or the place she went to, we should punish severely and publicly shame rapists. We should create a database where rapists can be documented for everyone to see.
We should never tolerate music, videos and home movies that objectify the female body form in the name of art, fun or play.

May we get your ears? You don’t have to wait for your female child to be sexually and fatally violated by the pastor/stranger/stepdad/boyfriend to realise that we have rape problem that needs addressing.
We charge you men, to do more. Speak out. Listen to our voices. We’re crying for help. Use your platforms. Protect your daughters. Teach your sons consent. We’re tired of living in fear! We want to be free. We demand justice for every female (young or old) raped in Zimbabwe.

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