Rape survivor still traumatised 24 years after ordeal
By Nomzamo Gwebu
The poor performance of Zimbabwe’s economy which has gone on for decades has generated a wave of crime with scores of houses across the country’s cities and rural areas targeted by thieves each and every night. The daring criminals are now adding insult to injury by raping women and girls after ransacking their victims’ houses.
Samkeliso Moyo (39) (name changed to protect identity of the source) is a survivor of rape that was inflicted on her when thieves broke into her home 24 years ago. Up to today, Samkeliso says the rape still haunts her and she says all the memories of the rape are still fresh in her mind. She adds that the rape spawned numerous problems that she will live with for the rest of her life.
“When I was 15 years old my parents left me and my siblings aged 11 and 8 at home. They were travelling to Gweru for four days. This was not the first time that my siblings and I had been left alone as our parents travelled. On that particular occasion, some thieves broke into our house the same day that my parents had travelled,” says Samkeliso.
Samkeliso says the three thieves were armed with various weapons and seemed to be prepared to deal with anyone who would challenge them.
“They broke the door to gain entry. It was in the middle of the night and I did not hear anything until they got inside the house. The lights were switched off but the thieves were using some torches to find their way inside the house. Initially they must have thought that there was no one in the house because they were just picking items and taking them outside,” says Samkeliso.
As the thieves were busy searching the house, they opened a drawer, where Samkeliso and her siblings had taken refuge. Samkeliso says they initially panicked but re-grouped when they realised that there were children only.
“They tied up my other siblings and gagged their mouths to stop them from making noise. After that they took turns to rape me. They were not using any protection. They were very violent and threatened to kill me if I made any noise. It was just like forever and I do not recall how many times they raped me. When they were finally done, they tied my feet and hands and left,” says Samkeliso.
The following morning, Samkeliso says she some neighbours who had heard some commotions came to her home where they discovered the horrendous crime. She says the police were summoned and she was taken to hospital where it was confirmed that she had been raped. Despite the medical attention she received, Samkeliso says she was shocked when she discovered that she was pregnant two months after the rape.
“When I was taken to hospital, I was made to understand that they would help by preventing any pregnancy from the rape. I was shocked and revealed the issue to my mother. When my father was told about the pregnancy, he said there was someone he knew who would perform an abortion. Initially I was worried but my parents said this was the best way forward since they did not want people to know that she was pregnant,” says Samkeliso.
The backyard abortion was a fiasco as Samkeliso says she fell sick and bled profusely. She says although the pregnancy terminated, she was so sick that she had to be admitted in hospital for several days.
“I never regained my health after the abortion. I ceased to have any purpose in life and I am just like a dead person walking. Things have just been moving from bad to worse. When I got married, I failed to get pregnant. I think it is because of the abortion. It is six years since I got married and I still have no child,” says Samkeliso.
Samkeliso says it is not easy to reveal her ordeal to her husband and says this is what is emotionally draining for her. She says she regrets not telling her husband about the rape when they were still dating.
“I feel that it is too late to tell my husband about the rape. Every day I ask myself why it happened to me. Whenever I hear any noise at night I feel terrified. The rape destroyed my life and everything is just falling apart,” says Samkeliso.