RAPE… A woman’s crime?

One of the most dominated criminal activity since almost the beginning of time is now being reversed in the country of Zimbabwe. The Daily Mail has reported that groups of women are kidnapping and raping hitchhiking men traveling along the roads. It has gotten so that men in the country do not even trust a woman to drive them around because the women might drive them to be raped.

The survivors say that they are given drugs and sexual stimulants to keep them erect and then raped over and over again. The men are attacked at gun and knife point. They also say that the women keep their semen so that they can use it in their “juju” rituals. One man said that at times it would be multiple woman and he used no condoms. After all was said and done the men were then dumped on the side of the road and left for dead.

The Nhokwara sisters have been arrested and charged in the Harrare Court for these crimes. When they were in a traffic accident police found 31 used condoms in their vehicle. They are now facing 17 counts of indecent assault because women raping men is not a crime in their country.

From an Anthropological standpoint this is almost un-heard of. We have heard of women assuming men’s roles through our readings and even men behaving like women sexually but we never heard that men are scared of women because they are raping them. This is new. Few questions arise from this. How did the sisters and other women get this idea started? How long has this been going on? Are there more men out there that this happened to and they are afraid to come forward because they might be looked at as punks? Did this come up out of traditional folklore?

The Nhokwara Sisters leaving the Harrare Courthouse

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5 Responses to RAPE… A woman’s crime?

  1. This story is totally bizarre. It’s so colorful at first I was skeptical that it was true but there are the women coming out of the courthouse. What is going on? Still I’m afraid I have to withhold judgement.

    There’s two interesting things going on here. One is the narrative of women raping men, the other is what it reveals about the anthropology of magic. Starting with the second we might ask why the juju ritual demands male semen. Its not at all uncommon for witchcraft to require something that belonged to the person you wish to control at a distance – typically a lock of hair or some old clothing will do. What is the semen doing here as a symbol? Why is it significant?

    The first issue may be more complicated because in our lives we may not recognize the role played by talk in our lives. We have to imagine ourselves living the life of an African man in Zimbabwe. Our friends are telling us these stories of evil women, we’re reading about it in the paper, folks are talking about it in the streets. How might this alter the way you act towards women?

  2. rcfalcon says:

    This story is very interesting. You’re absolutely right when you say that women raping men is unheard off. I can’t remember ever hearing of a story like that in the States, however I’m sure its happened and like you said, perhaps men are afraid of coming forward because they might think no one will believe them or they will be perceived as punks by society. What i want to know is how men react to being raped. Of course people cope in different ways, but because there aren’t many men that have been raped by a women how would we know how their emotional effects be. Would they feel distrust, avoidance, loss of control, guilt.. like many women do after being raped.
    Judging by the picture these women have no remorse or guilt for what they’ve done, the men are worthless to them except for their semen. It might be rituals to them, but could it also be that these women have never had a good man figure in their lives? or that they too have been a victim of rape?

  3. Sil says:

    This has a resonance of revenge. That is, these women seem to be pretty angry at men and/or by the way they themselves may have been treated by men in the past. Hence the role reversal of using men strictly for their physical and biological properties (much how men tend to “use” women). The fact that these women don’t seem to have remorse for their actions also supports that in their view what they did was an act of retribution for men’s domineering behavior. Perhaps they are using a “masculine” way to protest against men’s use of women solely as sexual and reproductive – as their “slaves” if you will. Therefore, they took it upon themselves to enslave men. However provocative this may be, unfortunately it is not a productive behavior.
    Now, the juju ritual aspect is a curious one. Although usually directed at a particular individual, in this case it could be directed at the male species in general – to control them as a whole (plausible?).
    Or, to take on a whole other spin on the matter…. Maybe, they are a female gang of sperm smugglers who sell off the sperm they acquire to fertility clinics… huh…?

  4. dt3d says:

    This story grabbed my attention because I remember writing a paper on female rapists. Indeed this crime is unheard of, but it certainly does happen. Men are less likely to report it because the feeling of embarrassment. One specific case I remember a male was raped because the female threatened that if he didn’t have intercourse with her then she would call the police and cry rape. It is unheard of for a women to rape a man because it is harder for women to over power a male, but the few who do commit this act do it with either firepower, blackmail, or manipulation.
    Of course my research was derived from American culture, so this use of semen for ritual purposes was foreign to me, but I could only imagine such an extreme motive.

  5. dbask005 says:

    This story is very interesting and grabbed my attention because female rapist aren’t as common, however they do exist and I must agree You’re absolutely right when you say that women raping men is unheard off. I can’t remember ever hearing of a story where men are rapped. I believe some man may think they can’t be raped others may be ashamed to report it. Either way it should not be undermined and should be taken just as serious as a woman being raped.

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