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When men get raped

On 11 0ctober the headlines in most Zimbabwean newspapers were blazing with the title "Dozens storm female 'rapists' police station." These headlines followed the arrest of three women suspected of raping men based on the 31 condoms filled with semen that police allegedly found in their vehicle.

Since these women's arrest the police has had to ward off mobs trying to get a 'glimpse' of these 'monsters' with others eager to mete out street justice because these women are 'evil' beyond imagination. The police has gone to great lengths to publicise mere suspects and the media has sensationalised the whole case.

Every day 3 year olds are raped. Young women are molested. Old women are raped some for political reasons by men young enough to be their grandchildren. Fathers rape their daughters, uncles-nieces, brothers-sisters and strangers force themselves upon women yet not one of these men has been paraded to the whole nation so others could identify them as possible rapists.

Has the rape of women become so normal that it does not shock people anymore? Is this case much more of a priority because the victims are men? Sexual abuse against men is a crime and is a violation of their human rights to the same extent that it is the same when committed against women.

This case is reflective of the investigative incompetence of the police in Zimbabwe. It is also telling of the extent to which the rape of women has been normalized yet it is the most abnormal thing that men do. For newspapers to sell the headlines need to show the 'oh-so-shocking' tales of men getting raped because the stories of women simply do not catch the eye of the reader. This is not only depraved but quite saddening.

The women are now charged with seventeen counts of aggravated assault because rape as a crime only applies with regard to women and not men in Zimbabwean law. These women deserve to be treated with dignity. As suspects to a crime they must be presumed innocent until a properly constituted court of law finds them guilty. They deserve a fair trial. In this case their guilt can only be proven if one of the complainants who came forward's DNA sample matches one of the samples of semen that the police is said to have. The semen remains the only legitimate piece of evidence that could link the women to any crime. In the absence of such a match the state has no case against these women and any outcome without such evidence would be a travesty of justice.


Cali gal Michelle's picture

thanks ..

...for opening my eyes to this injustice. May Truth prevail!



Let us Hope together-
aka: Cali gal


MaDube's picture

Thank you

Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. It is an injustice and I am saddened that many people in my country (women included) think that these women deserve the treatment they are receiving.

Adepeju's picture

Never knew trials on the

Never knew trials on the pages of newspapers are common in Zimbabwe too. You have stated the truth as it is; Rape against women is now seen as a normal experience. Interesting situation for those women standing trial. Will like to follow the story closely...

MaDube's picture

Newspaper trials

That's exactly what this is about. Newspapers looking for sales by taking advantage of headlines that catch the eyes of the readers. The papers are making it sound as uf the trial has already been done and the women found guilty. I will be updating you on what's happening since I am now back in Zimbabwe.

Adepeju's picture

Ok. Thanks dearie. Btwn, will

Ok. Thanks dearie. Btwn, will you be at the international bar association conference in dubai month end?

MaDube's picture

I will be in the Gambia for

I will be in the Gambia for the 50th session of the African Commission so no dear I wont make it. Are you going to be there?

Adepeju's picture

Aww :-( sure I will be in

Aww :-( sure I will be in dubai. Was hoping to rock the conference with you and brag about it on World pulse :-) Since you will be in Gambia and I will be in Dubai, let's update each other on the state of the law, women's right and evolving disciplines. Inbox me your email addy let me add you on yahoo.

MaDube's picture

I am very curious to find out

I am very curious to find out what's happening with human rights in the Gambia. I have been reading a lot on the situation of human rights defenders and women's rights. We should update each other definitely.

Nusrat Ara's picture

Thanks for sharing. You are

Thanks for sharing. You are right, women's issues are so lightly taken



MaDube's picture


Thank you Nasrat. I had colleagues responding to this story on facebook saying that this case is special because it like meat eating a dog instead of the other way round. I told them it is exactly that mentality which is wrong. When a man rapes a woman or a woman sexually abuses a man both cases must be perceived as strange events just like when meat eats a dog. The normal thing is to have sex with someone who is ready and willing

amiesissoho's picture

Sad situation

It is sad when horrible situations are taken as normal. It can never be the norm to abuse women. Thanks for sharing.


MaDube's picture

You are right sisi Amie. I am

You are right sisi Amie. I am coming to Banjul on Friday for the African Commission session. Hope to see you.

dbunton's picture

I'm Just Saying

Regardless of gender, rape is a crime. Any rape against a human is an injustice against humanity. It would be cliche for me to say "The shoe is on the other foot", however such a shallow statement would only further placate the double-standards that exist in most cultures. Yes, the media sensationalizes this and other events, without gathering facts, or preserving whatever dignity "real victims" might have remaining. The media also demoralizes and de-sensitizes the general public by making the issue a "current event" -as opposed to addressing the underlying issues within culture itself. Universal law purports that anyone accused of committing a crime is innocent until proven guilty. These women should be protected, and at least respected, up to the point they are adjudicated. Perhaps these women were making a statement to the Zimbabwean community and officials to draw attention to the crime of rape. I'm just saying.

Darren Bunton

MaDube's picture

Thanks Darren. You say

Thanks Darren. You say exactly what I ask in my post that rape whether committed against men or women must be treated the same. The moment one group is treated diffrently from the other it gives the impression that the crime is normal when committed against women but abnormal if committed against men. In both cases it is abnormal and should be equally condemned.

Ariee's picture


I don't think we'd have seen similar interest in this news if it had been a women who was raped.

But I don't mean to say that just because women were suspected for the crime, makes it a lesser crime, these women should also be protected by the law until their crime is proven in court. Making a media sensation out of it makes you question the ethics of it all.

Astha Joshi

MaDube's picture

Yes Astha. I wondered the

Yes Astha. I wondered the same thing. If male rapists let alone suspects would get the same treatment maybe many others would be deterred from committing the same crime.

joyacomeaux's picture

It could also be a set up, right?

Who knows if they even did it.
It could just be a setup.
Sounds fishy to me.


MaDube's picture

At this stage we do not know

At this stage we do not know if these women are guilty or not. They are just suspects. That is why I am so disappointed with the treatment they have received at the hands of the police. In investigating the case th police should not have paraded the suspects but they should have brought in specific complainants to identify them in police custody.

Stella Paul's picture

Late but reading!

Ok, it took a while for me to be back to this forum. And am reading all the posts quite late. Glad to read this one in particular.

Rights are rights are rights. Can't be tweaked and twisted to make them gender specific. An undertrial is innocent until proven guilty and anyone - man, woman and a third gender person is entitled to that.

The media does love to see a wonderful scope of sensationalizing in this. But, and I speak as a media person here, scandals sell well in this world. However, dignified journalists would not present it in a vulgar manner. So, his is where you learn to separate the dignified, credible media from the gossipmonger, scandalbug media houses.

Thanks for the post! Have missed WP for these few days!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

MaDube's picture

They are doing a great job of

They are doing a great job of making the women look guilty and the problem with that is that it puts pressure of the prosecution and even the magistrate who are handling the matter to find these women responsible for a crime even when the evidence is not enough. These media trials are horrible because they mislead the general public and if these women are aqcuitted because of lack of evidence people will just say they bought off the judicial officers yet that may not be true.

Stash's picture

well said

Am glad yo wrote about this MaDube, else I was going to myself. Isnt it just pathetic the kind of furore the nation has put up on men suddenly having the tables turned against them? In journalism, this is what we call man bites dog, yes the freshness of the story lies in the fact that it has just not been a norm for women to rape men, its always been the other way round. But then again, Face-bookers here are celebrating small victory, if this was not such a 'tragedy' that rape is rape no matter who is doing it. But for once, men get a feel of what it is like to be helpless and humiliated. But they are not even worse off, the women used condoms and were not said to physically harm their victims. How often does that happen where women are concerned?

MaDube's picture

Yes Stash. What makes it

Yes Stash. What makes it worse is when people argue that these women are so evil because they are allegedly using the semen for rituals. Some guy had the nerve to tell me that at least men do it for sexual gratification and that that is a better reason than rituals. I was livid to say the least.

Titilope's picture

Where are the Victims

I have been away from WP for almost 2weeks only to come back and read this interesting piece. The first question that came to mind was where are the victims of the alleged rape? As a lawyer, i know in criminal cases we have the accused and the complainant. Are the accused arraigned without a complainant? I have read this piece twice just to ascertain whether the victims alleged to have been raped had come forward to tell their story but there is nothing suggesting this. Are the men ashamed of been stigmatized ? Perhaps, they now experience what women normally experinece after been raped. If actually the women raped the men, which i seriously doubt, i really would want to hear their story and how they feel, if they ever have the courage to come out.

MaDube's picture

The police are saying that

The police are saying that some men came forward and identified these women as the women who raped them but it is not clear whether this is true or it is the police making sure they hold these women in custody on the basis of the semen they found in their car. The whole case is strange. The women had an accident. Then at the accident site the police found condoms full of semen. There have been reports of men saying they were raped by a group of women and so when the semen was found the police concluded that these women were the rapists because they had semen. It could be true but it could also be purely circumstancial evidence and as someone suggested it could be a manufuctured scene by someone who wanted to set up these women as they seemed to live a flashy life, were very well known and I believe also had many people who harboured ill feelings towards them in the city in which they lived. I just hope they get a fair trial based on admissible and credible evidence. If they are guilty then they deserve the sentence they should serve and as the courts have always done with first offenders get the precedent levels of leniency that we see given to male rapists. If they are not guilty then we are going to have a big case on our hands of abuse of power by the police, of defamation of character and many lessons shall be learnt .

Barbara M Bracewell's picture

Interesting Indeed

Let me be the first to say that I will never ever condone rape in any form and from any perpetrator, male or female. Still, isn't it very interesting at all the hoopla surrounding the case just because it is women who allegedly raped these men? Where is justice when it is the other way around? Men get away with impunity in most societies when it comes to raping women especially in African societies unfortunately. As an African woman, I know very well how the wheels of justice turn slowly in most Countries on the Continent. The fair thing that should happen here is that these women must face a fair and balanced judicial system that deems them innocent until they are proven otherwise in a competent court of law. Will that happen? Who knows? Please, keep us informed about this case MaDube because, in my opinion it is definitely one for the history books.


MaDube's picture

Thank you Barbara

Will definitely keep you informed.

Pushpa Achanta's picture

Powerful piece

Dear sister,

Thanks for this bold, poignant story. Like you, I believe that men and women are treated differently, worldwide. Isn't it sad that we must work relentlessly to be accepted as equals amidst our distinctions? I often feel that people who disrespect and hurt women are insecure losers!

Please continue writing...


MaDube's picture

Thanks for your comments

Thanks for your comments Pushpa and I will keep writing :-)

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