Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Women Rapists of Zimbabwe

What was your first reaction when you read that title?  Mine? I started to laugh, 'cause I'm human and a female - and there doesn't seem to be an epidemic of female rapists - in fact it appears at first thought that there can't have been many female rapists throughout history.  And a man being raped by a woman usually doesn't appear to involve extreme violence and pain. But that is another blog! A further cause for amusement is that this happened in Zimbabwe, a male dominated country.

From media reports, there was a gang of women operating in Zimbabwe, who were 'terrorising' men from 2010 until their arrest in 2011.  These women would pick up male hitch-hikers, and sedate them by spraying "some liquid" in their faces.  They would then be forced to "be intimate with women at gun point".  (Africa Review)  The women used condoms to harvest and save the men's sperm.  They used aphrodisiacs to cause the men to have an erection.

In one incident, a 30-year-old man was kidnapped by, and forced to be intimate with three women for five days,  after they drugged him.  At one stage a couple of men were assisting the women with their kidnapping activities.  Various other methods of capturing men were employed, including luring men with the offer of work.  One man was promised employment in the town of Mutare.  He met a man he knew,  in Harare, and was introduced to another man and two women who were described as 'friends'.   They headed for Mutare, where they had promised the victim  employment.  During the journey they bought drinks, with one of the women handing her unfinished drink to the victim, who drank the remaining liquid.

Zimbabwean Police

He "suddenly felt dizzy and started sweating before falling unconscious".  He awoke feeling weak, and  found himself in a wooded area near Magamba Training Centre in Mutare. At the time of his awakening, he found one of the women having sex with him.

Mutare, Zimbabwe

"The police spokesman added: “In that state, he was forced to have sex with both women who are said to have been wearing female condoms. (female condoms?) The alleged female rapists drugged him with a stimulant before they both had sex with him till about midnight.” (approximately twelve hours total)
The attack stopped when the man started “producing blood”, Inspector Chabata said, forcing a member of the gang to observe that he was “no longer useful”.
The man was dumped at the spot and did not regain consciousness until noon on Saturday. He was treated at Mutare Provincial Hospital."  (From Zimeye)
The media speculated that the attacks were made to gather sperm for either ritualistic purposes, or for traditional medicine.  I am wondering if it was for the purpose of selling on the internet, but maybe that is a bit way out as a theory!  Whatever the use, the returns appear to have been lucrative, by all reports.

The three women who were arrested
As often happens, the accused women were caught purely by accident - literally!  A male accomplice, Thulani Ngwenya (24) was apparently driving a car which was involved in a road accident.  The women reportedly rushed to the scene to collect their valuable loot, which was in the car - 31 or 33 (depending on the source) condoms, 4 of them containing sperm.  The women were unfortunate in that the police arrived at the scene before them, and discovered the condoms.  That's a big ooops, girls!  And after their arrest?
Harare, October 15, 2011 -A group of women accused of raping men around Zimbabwe at gunpoint brought the Harare magistrate court to a standstill on Friday.
The three women dressed in designer clothes and fancy hairstyles looked unfazed by the bizarre charges that they are facing. They were quite relaxed as they appeared in the dock.

Sophie Tendai Ngwenya, 26, Netsai Monica Nhokwara, 24 and Rosemary Chakwizira, 28, attracted a huge crowd of onlookers when they were brought before Harare magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini on Friday.

Whatever the sperm was being 'harvested' for still remains a little mysterious.  The trial has been delayed because DNA evidence has yet to be produced by the State, apparently because of logistical difficulty in transporting the results from South Africa. 
And at the accused's first appearance in court?  Seventeen men, including a soldier and a policeman came forward, claiming that they were “raped” by the three women. 

One of the women accused of rape
In the most bizarre end note, the women, who claim to be busy prostitutes who didn't have time to dispose of the fruits of their labours, cannot be charged with rape because Zimbabwean law does not recognise that women can rape men.  I wonder how long it will be before that law is changed? 

The three suspected female rapists — Netsai Nhokwara, Rosemary Chakwizira and Sophie Nhokwara — shy away from the camera before their release from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison 

And just for interest - here is a link to a very thought-provoking editorial about the bias being shown toward these women.

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