THREE women are suspected to have ganged up with two men and assisted them to rap_e two victims in separate incidents.
This raises concerns over involvement of women in the perpetration of violence against other women.
One of the incidents occurred near Kelvin North industrial site in Bulawayo on Friday while the second was in the bushy area close to United Bulawayo Hospitals the following day.
The incidents come just days after Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in commemorating 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
Sixteen Days of Activism Against GBV is commemorated annually from November 25 to December 10 with the aim of preventing violence against women and the girl child.
Bulawayo deputy police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele said they were investigating two cases in which women are suspected to have assisted men to rap_e women.
She said the first victim is a 26-year-old woman from Iminyela suburb, who had boarded a grey Honda Fit on her way home, but it diverted from her route and she was se_xually assaulted.
Asst Insp Msebele said the vehicle had a male driver and two other females who sat in the back seat of the car and the victim sat in the front seat.
“The driver stopped the vehicle in a bushy area near Revival Turn along Nketa Drive and slapped the complainant once on the face accusing her of staring at him. He ordered her to remove her blouse which he blindfolded her with.
The two women joined in assaulting the complainant with fists. One of the accused persons searched and took the complaint’s cash and a Mobicel cellphone from her pocket,” she said.
“The two women held her hands and legs apart while the man raped her once without protection. After the act the accused persons drove off leaving the complainant lying on the ground.”
Asst Insp Msebele said the victim reported the matter to the police on Saturday and she was taken to Mpilo Central Hospital where a medical examination was conducted.
She said the second incident occurred on Saturday involving a 20-year-old from Inyathi, who had arrived in the city in the morning to buy groceries.
Asst Insp Msebele said the young woman was lured by another woman, who promised her a job as a domestic worker in Suburbs suburb.
Asst Insp Msebele said as they walked to the Suburbs home, the two met a man who accused them of picking up his money.
“The unknown female adult who was walking with the complainant then gave the accused US$50 and the man released her. The suspect then held the victim’s hand and walked with her from Harare Road to Gwanda Road into a bushy area near UBH. He forcibly removed the complainant’s trousers and had se_xual intercourse with her once without protection and without her consent.
The accused then forcibly took cash and an Itel cellphone from the complainant,” said Insp Msebele.
She said both rap_ists and their accomplices have not been arrested.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association gender officer Ms Abigail Siziba said it was shocking that women were aiding men in violating women.
She said while 16 Days of Activism Against GBV focuses on male perpetrators, the society should also focus on abusive women.
“As you are seeing, women are accomplices in GBV, so we cannot say GBV is always committed by men. So, in dealing with this we should focus on both men and women because at times a woman can be an accomplice in having a man rap_ing his daughter. Women are accomplices in GBV against women. We are usually blinded in focusing on men as perpetrators,” said Ms Siziba.
Mr Makhosi Sibanda of Men’s Conference said it is not expected for women to assist men in abusing women.
“Rape is not good for society and it worries us to have women playing an active part in perpetrating evil to other women.
It derails the efforts that we are making to prevent violence against women. Women should know better what rap_e does to women and society at large. We would expect women to protect other women,” said Mr Sibanda.
Bulawayo lawyer Mr Zibusiso Ncube said the women will be charged with rape.
“That one is straight forward, they will be charged with rap_e. They are accomplices. There have been incidents where we have had women being charged and convicted of rap_e,” said Mr Ncube.