Sexual violence is seldom about the sexual act itself but about power and humiliation regardless of whether it is performed against a woman or a man. It is acknowledged, but not well documented, that men suffer from sexual violence perpetrated by other men during conflict, be in armed conflict or low level political conflict as the Zimbabwe context.
Men and boys are reluctant to report sexual violence because of the stigma associated with it that makes it very difficult to accurately assess its scope, but, despite these challenges, a small study was undertaken to establish whether there are cases of politically motivated sexual violence in Zimbabwe, particularly in the last 12 years. This report is based on the results of this study, which was done through the administration of a questionnaire prepared by RAU.
The study revealed interesting findings some of which are detailed below:
· Men were uncomfortable and unwilling to speak about their own experiences with sexual violence, but more open when asked whether their wives were victims and the consequences of this;
· Only one man admitted to being a perpetrator of sexual violence; he stated that he held down a victim while others raped her;
· Almost all stated that women are affected differently by violence because of the physical differences of the sexes; men are much stronger than women and can withstand the violence;
· They stated that sodomy, forced to have sexual intercourse either with a woman or another man, forced to gang rape women, having their genitalia touched, forced to strip in public and any indecent sexual act without consent were all forms of sexual violence than men can suffer;
· The violence occurred either at a base or at home in front of other people.
· Further research needs to be done on politically motivated sexual violence focusing on both male and female victims, looking at the prevalence and the effects.
· Protection mechanisms need to be set up for victims of sexual violence to enable them to receive treatment and counseling in safe spaces.
For the full report please go to our website: www.researchandadvocacyunit.org