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Women unite against Rape
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
February 11, 2004

CRISIS COALITION supports Women's Coalition in condemning in the deepest possible terms the rape of women and children. The gang rape of a 38-year-old woman in the city centre by five "street men" brought emotions to a boiling point as women came together to say "Enough is Enough: No to Rape".

The incident sent shockwaves within the organisation as it brings other issues to the fore. The gender insensitivity of the police was raised as the force found enough manpower to round up unescorted women at night but they now they are can't contain the problem of street men.

The * Executive (sic) Mayor of Harare, Ms Sekesai Makwavarara got the ball rolling by speaking out against rape as it scars the victim for life. She narrated how a girl was raped by her own brothers. This shocking incident highlights the fact there is nothing called a safe place for a woman, they are vulnerable even in their own homes. Rape cases are also being reported at churches, which used to be safe havens for women.

Crisis echoes the sentiments put forward by Janah Ncube, the Women's Coalition director who demanded the end to violence against women and children because they make the backbone of society. She challenged legislators to push through the Sexual Offences Bill which has been on the Parliamentary shelves for four years. Representatives of different organisations did not mince their words as they drove home the message that there is no place for rapists in Zimbabwe.

Songs and placards manifested the determination of the women to rid society and the streets of rapists. They were numerous calls to castrate rapists and deny them bail should they be caught. For Mr Matutu of Musasa Project anyone who stooped so low as to rape is mentally deranged and as such he must be removed from society. But they message that carried the day for the women was the call to castrate the rapists.


  • The legal framework must be tightened so that rapists do not get away with light penalties and they must not be granted bail under any circumstances.
  • The powers must clamp down on the street family camps that have spouted all the country's CBDs because so much more sexual violence is being perpetrated against those women and children who stay on the streets. About 124 street girls, some as young as 11, are being treated for STIs and some are even mothers.
  • Crisis also urges the societies that deal with the welfare of children to embark on an aggressive and sustained grassroots campaign to empower those who might need information on how to deal with rape within families.
  • Society has to change attitudes towards rape victims as stigmatisation will result in the victims going underground and the perpetrators will go unpunished.
  • Men must be a forefront of anti-violence campaigns.

* notes that Ms Sekesai Makwavarara is Acting Executive Mayor of Harare

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