Hear Us, Stand With Us: Zimbabwean Women Rise Against Sexual Violence

Regions: Africa, Zimbabwe

Issues: Impunity, Justice, Rape and sexual abuse

Tags: Elections, political violence, RAU, robert mugabe, violence against women, zanu-pf

THANK YOU to the 1600+ people who signed the petition and the thousands more that joined the campaign on the Hub, Facebook, and Twitter. Here's how the campaign unfolded last week:
*Aug 31: 
WITNESS' Bukeni Waruzi arrives in South Africa to meet with Kuda (from RAU), Memory (one of the women who shares her story in Hear Us), and members of the Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe and IDASA.
Sept 1: Memory and Kuda are interviewed on live TV by SABC (see video here); other media outlets like The Times from South Africa also report on the campaign.
Sept 2: The petitions are delivered to key South African government officials on their way to SADC and they pledge to take the message to the summit.
*Sept 4:
Dispatch from South Africa - New video provides full update of the week.
*Sept 7: RAU publishes an open letter to SADC in the Congolese media as African Heads of State meet in Kinshasa.
*Sept 9: New video from Bukeni thanks everyone and looks forward to the next steps in the campaign. 

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In 2008, political violence erupted throughout Zimbabwe as a result of highly contested national elections. Between May and July alone, local organizations estimate that state-sanctioned groups abducted, raped, tortured, and beat over 2,000 women and girls due to their political affiliations. Local police have ignored these women's pleas for protection, justice, and accountability, and national leaders have been equally unresponsive. Hear Us - a video co-produced by Zimbabwean Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) and WITNESS - features four of these women who have come forward to demand justice from the Zimbabwean government and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Next month, the SADC summit is being held in Kinshasa from September 2-8 2009.  Help us collect 2,000 (or more!) messages of support to be delivered to SADC leaders at the summit.  Add your voice to the call for justice for the Zimbabwean women - sign our petition, record a video message, tweet the campaign, or leave a comment below.
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Watch Hear Us...

...the story of four Zimbabwean women affected by political violence





*** A huge THANKS to all of the amazingly dedicated interns that worked so hard to get this page up, especially Caitlin Clay, William Pollock, and Opal Tometi!


Atrocities against women

Yathra naryasthu poojyanthe
Thathre bhavathu Devatha

This is a sanskrit saying from Indian spiritual literature which means where women are worshiped, there resides God
Woman is mother of all . Respect her, accept her, atleast dont despise her, dont abuse her.We are all with you

Prakash Ramakrishnan

A Direct Replica of Sierra Leone

The start of this year saw the women of sierra Leone in similar sexual predicament as their Zimbabwean counterparts. At least 20 women were raped in political party related violence in Freetown and Pujehun District. To date, nothing substantial and satisfactory has come out of the defenseless women's cases. The ruling government have not acted; women's groups have shouted but to no success; the situation still remains unattended to; where is justice for poor African women who continue to suffer sexual and gender based violence in the hands of a male dominated system?

"Respond to their unheard voices; lend them your boom mic; when they shout, shout with them".


This is typical African behaviour. It is going to take a long time before Africa becomes civilized.


Dear Juliana - Thank you for your comment. if I may respond, I'd like to say that violence against women for whatever reason is not just an African issue, it is a worldwide issue. There's violence against women everyday in "civilized" and "non-civilized" societies: in America, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America...

Violence against women has many different causes: political, religious, cultural, behavioral, socio-economic, conflict (armed and non-armed conflict), etc.  It also comes in different forms: rape, mutilation, sexual abuse or slavery, physical abuse, beating, mistreatment, trafficking, discrimination, inequality, forced recruitment, denial to social infrastructure, etc

I hope this explanation helps edify and enlighten the dialogue.

Bukeni Waruzi
WITNESS - Africa and the Middle East Program


Thanks for that, Bukeni. Juliana's comment disturbs me, and your response is spot on.

Crime Against women in Zimbabwe

It is shameful for all the world, that when we are in 21 st Century and people around us still doing rape, crime against and over the women in the World. We have to keep likewise people in the Jail forever. Jagdish Lal Gogna, President, National Human Rights Committee, Chandigarh (India)

far away


I am with your feelings woman's of our mother Africa, from Dominican Republic (Caribbean) we hope that change soon, and i hate this feeling of impotence to act against this barbarity!!!

There is something that we can do, as a country ? as a person ?, rather than talk ?

Protect the vunerable and innocent from the horrific atrocities!

The world needs to let those commiting these terrible crimes know they won't tolerate these disgusting acts and will try to protect the vunerable in polictical situations, these evil attempts at obtaining power are not only horrific but also cause disintegration of communities and countries .

Zimbabwean women must have

Zimbabwean women must have their human rights respected and the Zimbabwean Government must ensure that violence against women is no longer part of Zimbabwean society. These Zimbabwean women, who have suffered so terribly after the 2008 elections, are entitled to see the perpetrators of the crimes against them brought to justice. The Zimbabwean authorities should acknowledge their suffering and offer them the redress and care they deserve

Rape in Zimbabwe

Men who rape or condone rape are cowards. I hope SADC representatives have the courage to combat violence against women for any reason.