Special Crisis Report on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence: December, 2020

Silence promotes violence against women and girls

On May 13, 2020, alleged state security agents abducted the MDC Alliance trio of Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova following a demonstration over the continued economic decline in the country.

Initially, the Spokesperson of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Paul Nyathi had publicly confirmed that the trio were arrested and were in police custody only for the law enforcement agents to denounce their previous statement later on. The trio were later found on May 15, 2020 dumped in Bindura, a town outside of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. They had been tortured and sexually assaulted by state security agents.

The state went on to arrest the trio on charges of faking their abduction and after a lengthy stay in remand prison, the three were granted bail by the High Court on June 26, 2020. The case is still pending before the courts.

Below, one of the MDC Alliance activists, Netsai Marova pours her heart out:

“It has been seven months now since the most horrific days of my life. The horror that no one should ever experience. The agony that no pill can cure and the scars that will never heal. Life should never be this way. Society must never again allow this to happen.

Today I choose to speak out. You see me walk everyday, but what you might not know is how broken I am inside. I bear scars that can never heal. The wounds inflicted by ruthless men with no respect for human life. They did whatever they wanted with us, simply because we were helpless and defenceless women. They never cared about our rights; women’s rights which are human rights too. Yet these are the people whom society expects to uphold the values of the constitution of the land. Even after we were rescued, society did not stop being cruel. Some even called us all sorts of names. When we were granted bail, we were given conditions to report to police three times a week. Three times a week, we would face the monsters who tried to kill the girl in us.

What is even more disturbing is the fact that of all the people who are alleged to have committed a crime by demanding food during the lockdown period, the perpetrators targeted women; young and defenceless women. Worst of all, the harassment is not only done by men. Fellow women are equally cruel. We have nowhere to turn to.

As the world commemorates this year’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, it is time we must give a deep thought about cruelty to women and the girl child. No one should ever carry the burden of wounds inflicted on them simply because they are physically weak. Society must never tolerate this kind of abuse. Women should never be a target of molestation and harm because they are defenceless. The victims must never be silent.

Lets speak out. But most of all let’s all stand up united and defeat this monster before we all fall victim.”

Read the rest of the report here (857KB PDF)

Source: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

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