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16 Days of Activism: Code Red Against Rape March
Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa and Varaidzo Tagwireyi, Kubatana.net
November 25, 2011

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'Arepa ngachekwe! (Rapists must be castrated!)'

Hundreds of women marched from Harare Town House to the Gardens today, chanting, demanding that various authorities put a stop to the sexual violence perpetrated against women and children.

During the proceedings at Harare Gardens a representative from the Family Support Trust noted that girls were being pressured into not reporting by their women family members. She related the story of a little girl who was raped by her father. She reported the incident to her mother and was taken to a police station to file charges. Unfortunately, the girl's tete's (paternal aunts) pressured the girl to recant her story, saying that they would have no one to provide for them, and that it was not part of Zimbabwean culture. The girl recanted her story and still lives with her father.

In another message, a ZINATHA representative stated that members of ZINATHA did not condone sexual violence against women and children, and that this was in fact contrary to Zimbabwean traditions and culture. He also demanded that those traditional healers who prescribed forced sex with children also be prosecuted along with the perpetrator.

Director of Katstwe Sistahood, Talent Jumo noted the alarming rise in rape cases over the past year. She said that it was up to women to protect themselves, their children and each other from sexual predators. Jumo also urged women to report the incidents as soon as they occurred.

We asked several women what they hoped the march would achieve. Here are some of their responses:

Ini ndinofunga kuti march iyi ichachinja unhu wevanhu muno muZimbabwe. Ivo vanoda kurepa, kana vanorepa vakadzi vavo, vachivamanikidza kurara navo ivo vasingade. Kunyanaya kuvarume uku vachatitarisawao sevanhu, hatisi mhuka kana kuti chii. Takangofanana navo. (I hope this march will help to change to attitudes of men who go out and rape, or men who force their wives into having sex. I hope men will begin to see women as people, we are not just animals that they can use for sex.) Listen

Ita zvhinu zvinhu zvino enderana nemunwe wako waunenge uchidanana naye. Kana ndichinzwa kudawo ini zvinongo nakidzawo, asi ukaita zvekundi manikida, hapana zvinondi nakidza. Ava vano repa vana vadiki: tsvaka musikana. Vakazara kumabhwa varikutsvaka vanovanyenga asi havaendeko, worepa mwana mudiki. Urikudestroya life yemwana iyeye. Ngavaite kufunga kuti dai ndirini, kana mwana wangu ndinonzwa sei? ((To men) you must aim to please you partner. If she also wants to have sex then everything is fine and you will both enjoy it, but if you force her, there's nothing for her to enjoy As for you men who rape children, there are lots of women looking for men at bars, but you don't want that you want to rape young children. You are destroying their lives. You must ask your selves how you would feel if it was you or your child that was being raped.) Listen

Kazhinji kacho, nyaya iyi irikuti shungurudza, vana vari kurepwa vari vana vadiki. Kouya kumapurisa, vanoda chioko muhomwe, kuzvipatara, varikuti shaudha. Ma PEP (Post exposure prophylaxis) anodawo chioko muhomwe iwe usina. Saka zvinhu zviri kuti shungurudza. (This is causing us unrest. Children are being raped while they are still very young. When you got to the police they want a bribe, at the hospitals they shout at you (for being raped). Post exposure prohylaxis is only available when you bribe someone, and we have no money. These are the things we are marching about.) Listen

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