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AIDS Group Says Zimbabwe Using Rape As a Tool of Terror

The Zimbabwe government's youth militia use the most horrific tactic — rape — as a tool to terrorize those suspected of sympathizing with the opposition. President Robert Mugabe's ruling party has been carrying out a campaign of political terror since opposition supporters contested his election.

Today's New York Times paints a graphic picture of how many of Zimbabwe's women have been abused, humiliated, and raped, often in front of their families. State hospitals have turned away rape victims, who are often in pain and bleeding, and looking to prevent pregnancy, HIV, or other STDs.

To find out how an upcoming power-sharing deal might mean the perpetrators never see justice,


The advocacy group AIDS-Free World hopes that laboratory and photographic evidence of all these atrocities, along with documentation of the victims' stories, will help make a strong legal case in a potential war crimes trail down the road . . . if there is a trial.

Mugabe's party and the opposition are rumored to sign a power-sharing deal this weekend. Some believe that Mugabe's party will not agree to the deal unless it includes immunity from international justice. Should the deal include immunity from such atrocities like rape for political gains, if it means the violence will end sooner?


Join The Conversation
Da-Ly Da-Ly 8 years
My heart and prayers go out to the women who have to go through such an awful experience. :(
Meike Meike 8 years
This has been going on forever in war-torn countries since the beginning of human civilizations. It's so disgusting and primitive.
rabidmoon rabidmoon 8 years
I'm with Torgleson on this. At the most basic, integral level, rape is so fundamentally wrong, so fundamentally destructive not just to the individual, but to families, to the children that witness it, to the men that do it and grow up believing its normal, and the subsequent generations that perpetrate it because of that. This, however, is not a new tactic. Its quite easy to flip through nearly every decade of the 20th and 21t centuries and see rape used in a given country as a tool of power, control, and intimidation. That it is so awfully common makes it no less reprehensible, sad, or shocking.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
>i have never been sexually attacked in any way, so i may not be qualified to say this, but after its all over, i would be grateful to be alive and that my children are safe, so i dont think it is the 'most horrific' thing possible, for sure. I don't want to be rude, but I think you're right in that you're not "qualified to say this." I don't want to say one person's tragedy is worse than another. I don't think it's possible to quantify, like "having a child die is worse than being raped, but not worse than being raped and beaten," that's math I wouldn't want to do. But rape has such long lasting psychological affects, it haunts a person for a lifetime. And unlike other tragecies in a person's life, it's not really acceptable to talk about in the same way. I.e., you could tell a relative stranger about your child's death, show them a picture, and talk about them a little. It's not really the same kind of conversation to talk about someone who raped you. I don't know where I'm going with this. I just don't think the awfulness of rape can be underestimated.
janneth janneth 8 years
We always think, how can this be happening today, in 2008? Why does the world allow this? What is the answer?
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
i have never been sexually attacked in any way, so i may not be qualified to say this, but after its all over, i would be grateful to be alive and that my children are safe, so i dont think it is the 'most horrific' thing possible, for sure.
azulsky azulsky 8 years
That makes me sad as a human being not just as a woman. Why, I just don't understand the need to cause that level of pain to another person? I don't think the deal should include immunity, even if it means the violence will end sooner because I don't think the men committing these reprehensible acts would actual stop. The violence won't end. They used violence to get power after they lost the election and they'll continue to use it in every capacity to keep it no matter what they promise.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 8 years
This is one of the most horrible things I've ever heard.
em113 em113 8 years
:( and wow MartiniLush that is terrible, I already hated the School of the Americas but now, just wow.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
It is, indeed. And to think that our government was the TEACHER of that policy...really freaks me out!
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Wow. That is just so scary.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
This is the most horrific thing. I cannot imagine what these poor women are going through. You know, Torg, when I was living in Guatemala, there was this huge scandal going on about Guatemalan Army officers who were trained at the School of the Americas in "counter-insurgency methods". Several of the officers came out and said that they were instructed that the first thing they should do to the women when the arrested them was to rape them because it "broke their spirits" and they were more likely to get information out of them.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
This is so barbaric and cruel. It's so weird that this still happens in modern times.
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
Men have used rape as a war tactic for quite some time. I personally find it extremely disgusting.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 8 years
Disgusting! :barf: I feel bad for those women.
menthadict menthadict 8 years
All I can say is that is sick.
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