Generally, speaking up on sexual violence and human rights is a difficult road to travel in Zimbabwe. Human rights issues are perceived to be raised by people who do not love their country and are being influenced by the West to speak out against the ‘government’. Speaking out against rape and sexual violence is not easily acceptable in Zimbabwe were such issues are usually hushed and swept under the carpet.
Zimbabwe generally has a rape culture where issues of rape and sexual violence are somewhat condoned and the victim is always blamed. It does not make it easier as an outright feminist who at times gets attacked for being a bitter, unmarriageable, sexually frustrated dinosaur and many other derogatory terms.
What keeps me going is realising that I will remain my authentic self regardless of the external forces. For as long as women and children are treated as second class citizens I will not sit down and fold my hands. I will keep doing my best to contribute to a better trajectory for women and children in Zimbabwe.
– Tariro Tandi is a Mandela Washington Fellow and lawyer from Zimbabwe.