I attended a public event yesterday at Book Cafe, Harare and it was quite eye popping to find out what is happening in our country with regards to rape issues. The Speakers were Professor Geoff Feltoe; Sarudzai Njerere (Legal Practitioner, Honey and Blanckenberg); Sara Moyo (ZWLA Board Chairperson); Jimmy Willford (SAYWHAT). The moderator was HerZimbabwe, @herzimbabwe on Twitter. I will share everything as is as I do not want to take anything from the article which was issued out to those who attended; it read:
The Case Of Mildred Mapingure
On 4 April 2006, Mildred Mapingure was attacked and raped by robbers at her home in Chegutu. She immediately lodged a report with the Chegutu police and requested that she be taken to a doctor to be given medication to prevent pregnancy. Later that day, the police took her to hospital and a doctor attended to her. Mildred repeated her request , but the doctor only treated her injured knee. He said that he could only attend to her request for preventative medication in the presence of a police officer. He further indicated that the medication had to be administered within 72 hours of the sexual intercourse having occurred.
She duly went to the police station the following day and was advised that the officer who dealt with her case was not available. She then returned to the hospital, but the doctor insisted that he could only treat her if a police report was made available. On 7 April 2006, she attended the hospital with another police officer. At that stage, the doctor informed her that he could not treat her as the prescribed 72 hours had already elapsed. Eventually, on 5 May 2006, it was confirmed that Mildred was pregnant.
Mildred then went to see the investigating officer who referred her to a public prosecutor. She indicated that she wanted her pregnancy terminated, but was told wrongly that she had to wait until the rape trial had been completed. In July 2006, acting on the direction of the police, she returned to the prosecution office and was advised that she required a pregnancy termination order. The prosecutor in question then consulted a magistrate who stated wrongly that he could not assist because the rape trial had not been completed. She finally obtained the necessary magisterial certificate on 30 September 2006. By that stage, the hospital matron assigned to carry out the termination felt that it was no longer safe to carry out the procedure and declined to do so. Eventually, after the full term of pregnancy, Mildred gave birth to her child on 24 December 2005.
Mildred was obviously badly let down by the system and the system must be overhauled to ensure that this does not happen again.
If you are on Twitter you can follow the hash tag #TOPActZW to get to read thoughts on the case from different individuals. You can also read more about the case from http://www.zwla.co.zw/index.php/component/k2/item/12-mildredmapingure