Today we stand in solidarity with our sisters, allies, friends, and partners across Zimbabwe who are breaking the silence about the military’s targeted campaign of sexual violence against women. On January 30, 2019, women across the country – and their supporters around the world – are wearing black to present a unified front against the violence and to demand justice for survivors. We join together to declare loudly and without hesitation that we will not stand for the armed forces’ use of women’s bodies as war zones.
Earlier this month, Zimbabwe devolved into a political crisis that remains ongoing. Security forces have brutally suppressed citizen mobilizations against catastrophic economic policies, in particular the government’s announced 150% hike in fuel prices. The military and police crackdown on citizens has left at least 12 people dead, mostly attributed to the use of live ammunition, with hundreds more injured or detained. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission reports that armed soldiers and police have indiscriminately targeted and severely beaten citizens in their homes in Harare and Bulawayo, a practice the Commission is calling “systematic torture”. More than ten women –ranging in ages from 17-61– have reported that the soldiers raped them during the illegal raids.
In support of Zimbabwean women, survivors of sexual assault, and all affected by the violent crackdown, we express our solidarity during the crisis and in its aftermath. We thank you for your courage to loudly and boldly demand an end to the violence. We are with you always.
Count Me In! (CMI!) supports the voices and activism of women, girls, trans people and intersex people who are often most marginalised by their communities. Count Me In! is a special joint initiative with Mama Cash, including the sex worker-led Red Umbrella Fund (RUF), Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), CREA, Just Associates (JASS) and Urgent Action Fund – Africa (representing its sister funds in the US and Latin America). The Dutch gender platform WO=MEN is a strategic partner for lobbying and advocacy.