By Leopold Munhende
TINATSWE Mhaka, a Harare-based gender activist has released a ‘Rape List’, naming and shaming several men for repeatedly raping women but going scot-free.
The list, which has received traction on Twitter, according to Mhaka was compiled after the failure of the justice system and the police to bring the prosectors to book.
Several men with pictures on the page are alleged to be the perpetrators of violent rape acts. They include a senior Cabinet minister’s son, and all accused of drugging and buying alcohol for young women before forcing themselves on them.
Some of the perpetrators are Zimbabwean men who are reported to be preying on young women from their bases in the United Kingdom, and Canada while a locally, upmarket night club, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), and the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) are some of the predators hunting grounds.
“The justice system is not working and all we have is our stories,” Mhaka told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview.
“We tell women to report such incidences. We deserve to know who rapists are. These women shared these stories with me personally as a result of either lack of evidence after speaking out or lack of help from the police.
“Unfortunately, the prosecution is very weak and naming and shaming is simply the last resort. We tell women to report rape with the hope the system will do what it was designed to but it does not.
“The system is flawed and in a country like Zimbabwe, it’s non-existent. Does it sound normal being told to drive us to go arrest your rapist?”
According to a 2019 report, some 22 women are sexually assaulted every day in Zimbabwe, translating to one case every 75 minutes according to Zimbabwe Gender Commission chairperson Margaret Sangarwe.
“22 women are raped daily in Zimbabwe, one woman is abused every 75 minutes and an average of 646 women are being sexually abused monthly and one in three girls is raped or sexually assaulted before they reach the age of 18,” Sangarwe said in 2019.
The Rape List comes at a time the #MeToo campaign has gained global traction.
“I hope the list grows and the cry for help is heard through tangible solutions. And all I hope is they (victims) are not shamed further.”