A V-Day love letter to the Real man I love
Your letter is special because I write it on V-Day, and also because its open to the whole world.
I love you because you are a real man, because you have agreed to share my politics - the politics of women's emancipation and freedom from violence and rape. In doing this you have indeed ‘oranged’ your heart and mind as part of the UNITE Campaign to end violence against women, and this is why I love you honey. You are a man of rare timbre and fibre my love, and the only one in Zimbabwe.
Today sweetheart, I invite you to be my ally, to join me in spreading the message on no tolerance to violence against women in Zimbabwe.
Today, I urge you to reach as many men as you can with this message of peace. I know they will listen to you more than they would listen to me, because you are a man like them, and you understand the language of the game better. Please take the following key messages to them:
Tell Clifford and Lovemore that no day is a day to abuse women. Tell them to spend their energies on activism, on fighting for the rights of the oppressed.
Explain to Rugare that violence against women is a violation of human rights, and it must stop. Tell him that the rape of women is an abomination, and there is no excuse. Ask him to join the women of Zimbabwe as we march from Town House to Africa Unity Square to protest against the rape of women and to demand stiffer penalties for all rapists.
Tell Juzeyi to wear his orange shirt on every 25th day of each month. Every 25th day of each month is orange day, and we must all dress in orange to highlight the need for eliminating violence against women from our spaces.
Today my love, I beg you to go to the golf course, not to hit the balls as usual, but to tell Sam that every day is a day to honor women’s rights. Tell them that there is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls, and that this movement constitutes a group of people in their diversities, people that refuse to stand by as violence against women continues, people that choose to take action in whatever way to build peace.
Today my love I know you will show your courage. You will go to the police camps, to the government offices, and to your employer’s office and deposit this beautiful message of outrage, that, ‘Enough is enough! No more violence against women’. Tell them we say NO to rape and sexual violence, NO to femicide, NO to impunity, and NO to murders of passion. Tell them we say YES to peace, YES to human rights, and YES to justice and equality.
The last task, sweet heart, is for you to sign a petition to President Mugabe. Be part of the voice that tells him that it is not enough for the government of Zimbabwe to have laws and policies on elimination of violence against women. What Zimbabwe wants is to see the full implementation of said laws and policies. Explain to him the need for Zimbabwe to sign the global Declaration to Stop Rape and Gender Violence in Conflict. Reason with him that yes, Zimbabwe is not in violent conflict per se, but there are a lot of structural inequalities that breed violence on a day to day basis. Tell him our neighbors across the borders are in conflict, and we cannot act in isolation because the effects of their conflicts will spill over to us. Please remember to convey to him that all survivors of rape have the right to access justice, and effective remedies for the harm they have suffered—including access to services, programs, and opportunities for their recovery and reintegration into society.
After that my love, we can sit together throughout the night, hip to hip, and sing to celebrate the prowess of Chaminuka and the valour of Nehanda, as we load our mouths with spoonfuls of traditional, romantic foods.