By Perfect Mazani
As the sun rises spectacularly across the Zambezi Valley, it sires life not only for human beings but for wildlife and vegetation. lt is survival of the fittest and as some animals feed on grass, some prey on other animals which are already fed by vegetation. It is an intricacy of the food chain. What catches the eye of an ordinary observer is how the lion preys upon its victims and sustains life from such predatory pounces.
All the animals of the jungle regard the lion as the enemy because of its awesome power and predatory instincts. This literally means that the lion is the master hunter and many other animals of the jungle are the hunted. It however becomes interesting when one imagines what will become of the lion when nature turns against it such that it becomes one of the hunted – not by the people, but by the very same animals which it used to hunt. This is well captured by the phrase, â€˜When the Hunter Becomes the Huntedâ€™.
When one takes time to attend to some court sessions across the country, a day hardly passes without a rape case being tried. Traditionally, the victims of a rape have been predominantly vulnerable women of all ages from as young as one month to as old as eighty years. This had created a strong condition that rapists are generally psychopaths – men who are presumably inadequately socialised to understand the regulations of sexual privileges.
RAMPANT MALE RAPE CASES
The definition of rape in the Zimbabwean law is ‘a person who by violence involves; or appears to threatened person to involve imminent danger; forces another person to have sexual intercourse or to engage in a comparable sexual act; that having regard to the nature of the violence and the circumstances in general; is comparable to enforced sexual intercourse’.
Reports show that most of the â€œrapeâ€ incidents occur along highways, where the women offer lifts to their unsuspecting victims and then force them into being intimate with them.
However, it seems the country could be heading into a new era whereby what was once considered taboo has now become the norm. Instead of women running away from men, itâ€™s now vice versa. Men are now actually running away from women!
There are hundreds of cases where men get raped by women but the stories are being swept under the carpet. Most men rarely come out in the open when they experience such forms of sexual assault, so there could be even more cases that go unreported.
Around July in 2010, a 26-year-old Bulawayo man believed to be a policeman was reportedly kidnapped, robbed and raped by three women who had offered him a lift from Bulawayo to Kwekwe.
The poor chap was forced to drink a “bitter” substance that rendered him unconscious after which the women took turns to ravish him. The poor chap must have been shocked to the marrow, for is the opposite not the norm? For a start, many say by getting it up the chap showed that he must have enjoyed himself and this is not true because according to biology, getting an erection shows nothing other than your body responding how it is supposed to do, whether consciously or subconsciously.
As has become the antic, the women made him wear the condom and took with them the semen. At the end of it all, the poor chap must have been left confused. His case follows an ever-growing line of incidents of women gangsters forcing themselves on men, eliciting wide responses from the public that range from the flimsy to the more serious concerns that society has gone ill. But what is causing women to suddenly turn the tables and rape men?
In August 2010, a Karoi man who was hitch-hiking was kidnapped in Westgate in Harare by two women and forced to be intimate with them. According to Mashonaland West police provincial spokesperson, Inspector Clemence Mabweazara, the two women forced the 44-year-old man to be intimate with them at gunpoint after they had travelled for about 80km along the Harare-Chirundu road.
They ordered him out of the car and to surrender all the property he had. Inspector Mabweazara confirmed: â€œHe had a foam-rubber mattress and groceries worth about US$80 as well as about US$50 in cash. They ordered him to carry the mattress to a bush, while their male accomplice followed.â€
Inspector Mabweazara said the women then forced the man to be intimate with them, one after the other, on the mattress before they abandoned him in the bush. This case is just but one of several others that were confirmed by the police.
While agreeing that women can sexually assault men, gender activists believe that a case of rape could not be sustained for biological reasons. In fact, such activists argue that it is practically impossible for women to rape men. The subject of women raping men has indeed caused a stir in the country.
In July 2010, again, a Mwenezi man was reportedly drugged and forced to have sex with two women who had offered him a lift along the Masvingo-Ngundu road. That same month, police reported that four women forced themselves on a 25-year old Masvingo man at gunpoint after forcing him to drink an unknown substance that afterwards made him pass out.
In another instance, â€œThe victim said that three women offered him a ride, but he passed out when the women placed a cloth covered in some alcoholic substance against his face. After he woke up he was naked and the ladies took turns to rape him and abuse him.â€™â€™ said police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.
In 2009 a man reported to the police that he was raped in lower Gweru in the Midlands Province after what started as a harmless offer for a lift by two women- turned hypernate abductors. The married man and a father of three said he was given a daily dose of porridge laced with an unknown powder to enable him to have sex with the two armed women. He was later dumped on the roadside with little energy after the week-long ordeal.
About 5years back, Zimbabweans didnâ€™t acknowledge the possibility of rape by women, hence silencing these rape survivors.
VARYING OPINIONS FROM ANALYSTS AND THE PUBLIC
Theories upon theories have been flying left, right and centre and it sounds as if there could never be a nailing of the issue, which however continues to gather currency.
Gladys Ncube from Chitungwiza comments that women are on a revenge mission – and she does not spare an iota of pity for the male victims, even when her husband could become a victim someday.
“Men have been raping women for a long time and nothing has been done about it,” she says emotionally. â€œThe justice system has failed us. It’s good that the women are taking the law into their hands. Male rapists have been sentenced to lesser terms than cattle rustlers.â€
She continues, â€œWhy are you making noise about these men being on the receiving end, when we have been on the receiving end since creation? The emotional stress that men are going through due to this raping spree is what we have gone through since the Garden of Eden,” she charged.
Others who preferred not to be named remarked that there is a far-east country where semen is on demand for ritual purposes. It does not come as a surprise as most of the women that have been accused are well to do and appear affluent in their businesses.
There are no doubts to the veracity of the stories since crimes for women sexually abusing young boys started to increase but at the same time men are increasingly wondering whether women are turning the tides against them.
Initially, rituals are not new in Zimbabwe, but they have for long been confined to the business sector where murders were carried out for body parts with the belief that this would make a business flourish. Others say the growing trend is attributable to juju.
Traditionalists such as Sekuru Makwesha from Chitungwiza asserted that the women will be collecting the semen of their victims, for use in wealth-creation concoctions. Also in the last decade there has been escalation in incidences of men raping young girls, believing this would cure the deadly HIV scourge.
The male seed is said to be collected for some clandestine sperm bank, particularly as Zimbabwe has no sperm bank for human beings but one for livestock. Is it due to the hyper globalisation according to social scientists, or is it a revelation of the end times according to the Bible?Â What would drive women to attack men in that manner? Why would women go to the extent of kidnapping and assaulting men when the male species is well known for its readiness to mate with any willing female, at times even paying for the encounter? There could be more to these abductions and rapes than meets the eye.
Contrary to the wealth dimension, local traditionalists rule out the existence of such rituals. Zimbabwe National Traditional Healersâ€™ Association (Zinatha) President, Professor Gordon Chavunduka said his organisation is not aware of any ritual that requires women to force themselves on men.
He said Zinatha is perturbed by the recent developments and it has since opened up investigations to determine the origins of the practice. â€œAs Zinatha, we are not aware of any traditional medicine that requires women to rape men,â€ said Prof Chavunduka. â€œWe are very disturbed by what is going on and we are launching investigations so that we can determine the origins of this practice.â€ Prof Chavunduka said it is likely that the rituals could be prescribed by foreign traditional healers who have invaded the country of late.
â€œI donâ€™t know what is happening in our society. Maybe this is Godâ€™s wrath for shunning our customs in favor of the Western Culture,â€ Tsitsi Murindagomo, a 63-year old traditional healer who stays in Warren Park confirmed.
Ms Sylvia Chirawu, the National Co-coordinator for Women in Law in Southern Africa (WILSA), said that the law does not recognise that women could rape men. â€œA female cannot rape because she does not have the organ to do so,â€ said Ms Chirawu. â€œFor cases of rape, there should be a legally recognised degree of penetration to sustain a charge.â€
As a result, a female is deemed not capable of committing rape because she can not penetrate.
â€œShe can be charged with indecent assault or aggravated indecent assault,â€ said Ms Chirawu.
Mrs. Chirawu also accused the media of â€œmisleadingâ€ people by giving prominence to cases in which men claim to have been raped. In the process, she said, actual rape cases perpetrated on women by men are obliterated. â€œAs an organization we condemn any acts of violence, be they perpetrated on men by women or by men on women,â€ said Ms Chirawu. â€œWe would like to see the newspapers following through with the reports of men claiming to have been raped because we believe that there is an element of sensationalisation.â€
Ms Chirawu said the media had a tendency to give little space to women being raped. â€œHow many girls and women are being sexually violated each day?â€ she asked. â€œWhen the man is the victim, they make front-page news, but if it is a woman, the story is tucked in a corner.â€
Media experts have always argued that when the extraordinary occurs, then that makes news. Perhaps this explains why men are given front-page status when they report that women have raped them.
Perpetrators of male rape
Throughout the world, the occurrence of male sexual abuse by either female or male perpetrators has been disregarded, but can no longer continue to be ignored. Several scholars have pointed out that In Africa, this type of abuse is considered a taboo by most societies and is rarely reported.
This is particularly true for the sexual abuse of males. The perpetrators of this type of rape are said to be women who travel in groups and in huge cars. In Zimbabwe there was once a speculation of a maroon twin cab which was said to belong to a group of women who kidnapped and rape men.
Statistics of male rape
Research reveals male sexual abuse being perpetrated in 16% of cases by females therefore revealing the authenticity of these male rape cases.
Possible effects on victims
Male survivors of sexual assault often experience psychological ramifications of attack in the form of rape trauma syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other studies report no significant differences in mental illness either between male and female victims or between male victims and the general population.
Although the speculation of women rape sounds pathetic and bogus, reality lies in it. This rampant male rape in Zimbabwe can be cushioned together with the mysteries of heavy Australian floods and massive snowfall early in Europe and lately in US. These are signs of end times when the sweet slowly turns sour and when a pregnant woman begets a baby with teeth.
Who ever knew that the lion would one day be chased by a sheep? Previously, we called it a myth, but how nature has turned against the zealous and the powerful in favor of the vulnerable and the fragile at heart is appalling .The changing times when the hunter becomes the hunted. Who can reverse nature anywhere?