GIRLS who were raped during the violent 2008 Presidential run-off elections said they were finding it difficult to get married as suitors ditch them once they learnt that they were once abused.
BY NUNURAI JENA
Some women were ditched by their husbands after they were raped.
Scores of women, including young girls, were allegedly raped by Zanu PF youth militia at several bases that were dotted around the country during the past violent polls.
Most of the cases were never tried or finalised at the courts.
Last week, The Standard tracked down some of the victims in Mashonaland West province who narrated how they got married but later divorced when their husbands learnt about the rape cases.
The victims, physically and emotionally scared, are now the laughing stock in their communities.
One of the victims, Chenai from Shackleton in Chinhoyi, said her life had been changed since she was raped in June 2008 during the presidential run-off.
Her husband later divorced her.
“I was raped by four people. They came home and took me to their base and beat me first before they raped me. I reported to the police and they were arrested,” said Chenai. “I went to court but we were told to go back home. The court officials promised they would summon us for trial but up to now nothing has been done.” The single mother of two confessed to The Standard that she could not forgive her attackers, as they had also infected her with the HIV virus.
Another rape victim Lisa, was allegedly raped by Zanu PF youths at a base at Eiffel Flats in Kadoma and eventually dropped out of school because her classmates teased her about the incident which was known in the neighbourhood.
Lisa, who was 15 years old when she was raped in 2008, fears that the rape case could be swept under the carpet by court officials. Despite being summoned to court on five occasions since 2008, the trial is yet to get underway.
“I stopped going to school because other children were mocking me saying I was raped by seven people so I just stopped going to school,” said Lisa.
‘Zim elections synonymous with sexual violence’
Some of the women who were raped have resorted to prostitution to survive after they were divorced by their husbands for being raped.
Men, the victims said, feared contracting HIV and Aids from their abused wives or girlfriends.
A Chinhoyi court official, who refused to be named, said Mashonaland West province had the highest number of rape cases reported countrywide during election times.
He however could not avail figures.
The province only has one regional magistrate.
Last year alone, Kadoma district referred 98 rape cases involving minors to the Chinhoyi provincial magistrates court.
Zimrights director, Okay Machisa said his organisation was concerned by the numerous pending rape cases in the country, especially those committed during election campaigns.
“Zimrights is greatly concerned by rape cases still pending in courts,” said Machisa. “We call upon the government to intervene as a matter of urgency. If the cases are not resolved quickly, the women will feel demoralised, abused and [as if they are] not part of the society.”
A medical doctor, Peter Matarutse, who treated several rape victims during the 2008 polls, said elections in Zimbabwe were synonymous with sexual assaults and violence.
He said that “justice delayed is justice denied”.
Matarutse implored women who were violated to report their cases early.
“In some instances, the cases do not go far because married women do not want their husbands to know that they were raped before. They will not take the people concerned to court.”
Chinhoyi lawyer Mike Mutsvairo, said rape survivors should report cases immediately.
“If a person spends a long time without going to court to testify, then it means she would have a faulty memory because things would have taken a long time without being finalised,” said Mutsvairo.