Sex workers raped in graveyard

THREE Harare sex workers were forced to strip at Mbare West Cemetery by three men who later took turns to force themselves on each of them without wearing protection.

One of the victim sex workers, who filed a police report, narrated her ordeal to the Weekend Post but feared she may never get justice due to the widespread discrimination accorded to sex trade in Zimbabwe.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba distanced the police from accusations of not taking sex worker reports seriously.

“We take every case seriously. I am, however, not yet aware of this particular matter.”

The sex worker who identified herself as Samantha recounted the rape and how she is still to come to terms with the incident.

“These men came to us and asked how much I charge short time. I told them $10 and they obliged before taking me along with two of my friends,” she said.

“Prior to that I had made quite a bit of money sezvo ndanga ndiri new bhero pataundi (I had made a bit of money since I was a new catch at the place).”

The three sex workers then proceeded with the men who appeared “noble” at first as they bought them a couple of beers before they drove off to the cemetery.

“You can imagine our surprise as we headed into the cemetery. We tried to object but the men remained silent. They told us to get out before asking us to strip naked. They took the money which was in my bra.

“They then roved their trousers and forced themselves onto us. What really hurt me is that one of my friends is HIV positive and I had seen her ailing and now these men were taking turns with us. They never even bothered to use condoms and you know how those sperms are so disgusting. They had water but they couldn’t even be bothered to wipe,” she said in between sobs.

However, their nightmare only ended after the “men had had enough, before asking us to run in front of their car as they hooted and shouted obscenities.”

Samantha was later treated for a sexual transmitted disease (STI)at a Harare hospital but says she received a torrid time from nurses just as she had also had a hard time from police as she filed a report.

Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) secretary general Enock Dongo said if sex workers were facing problems accessing health care then it was unfortunate.

“Our oath as nurses is that we swear we don’t discriminate, if it’s happening anywhere it’s very unfortunate,” he said.

“Sometimes when we treat STIs we encourage patients to bring their partners but sometimes other people may feel disenfranchised by that. But that doesn’t mean we don’t treat. This is just to avoid recurrence.”

Home Affairs deputy ministerObedingwa Mguni called for the police to treat sex workers with respect.
“I am aware that there is no Act that grants commercial, whether it is social or what workers. I am afraid to name it,” he said recently during question and answer session in the National Assembly.

“It is not yet approved that they can do their work. However, it does not constitute police to abuse such people because you cannot even abuse a person you arrested committing crime. As police, you need to be professional.”
—Farayi Machamire


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