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Zimbabwe: Gang Rapes of Men by Women on the Rise

(Oct. 12, 2010) It was reported on October 6, 2010, that a 26-year-old man in Zimbabwe is alleging that three women kidnapped, robbed, and gang raped him after they drugged him and rendered him unable to defend himself. This is said to be the fifth allegation of sexual assault by women on a male victim in Zimbabwe this year. (Zimbabwe Man Claims Rape by Gang of Women, RFI (Oct. 6, 2010), http://www.english.rfi.fr/africa/20101006-zimbabwe-man-claims-rape-gang-
women
.) According to Wayne Bvudzijena, police spokesman, the police suspect these series of assaults to be part of a ritual of sorts (id.).

The alleged acts committed by the women are not technically rape under Zimbabwean law, but they carry the same penalty as rape. Under the criminal law, an offense of rape can be committed only by a male against a female victim (§ 65, Cap 9:23,Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act No. 23/2004 (published June 3, 2005), REFWORLD, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/type,LEGISLATION,,ZWE,4c45b64c2,0.html) (last visited Oct. 7, 2010)). However, the law does have a provision on “aggravated indecent assault” that is applicable to female perpetrators. The provision expressly states:

(1) Any person who: …

(b) being a female person:…

(i) has sexual intercourse with or commits upon a male person any other act involving the penetration of any part of the male person's body or of her own body … with indecent intent and knowing that the other person has not consented to it … shall be guilty of aggravated indecent assault and liable to the same penalty as is provided for rape … . (Id. at § 66(1)(b)(i).)

“Aggravated indecent assault” is on conviction punishable by a term of up to life in prison, the same penalty applicable to a rape conviction (id.; see also § 65). In addition, “aggravated indecent assault” is similar to rape in that the same factors apply to both types of offenses for purposes of determining the appropriate sentencing (id.). These include the extent of violence used in committing the act and the number of perpetrators involved (id. at § 65).