Female CIO Operatives Subjected to Rape, Sexual Abuse

Now Daily

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Female operatives of the Central Intelligence Organization are subjected to rape and gruesome sexual acts as part of their training and work, sources have told Now Daily.

The women are further abused by bosses and often told to sleep with targets of investigation or assassination in order to get information, the sources told us.

“Most operatives are finished after the sexual abuse they go through in training. We were told after being raped that it was part of the training in resilience and to help us survive torture. It was done in such a crude way that many of my colleagues suffered injuries after being gang-raped,” said one female operative. “Many of the women do not want to get married after that because they feel used. It makes you feel like a prostitute. Those who marry do so in name only. They are still required to sleep with the bosses and with targets, who are usually senior government officials, politicians or business people.”

The married operative, who is now down with full-blown AIDS, said women agents of the CIO were often put into situations where they became vulnerable to abuse. She cited an incident where she was forced to spend a month living in the bush, guarding the corpse of a man who had been murdered by the spy agency.

“We were encamped in a game park for a whole month. We were guarding a dead body and were not supposed to leave until it decomposed beyond recognition. Our job was to ensure that no one got near that place. Naturally, people have feelings and fears, even after you take the hard drugs that we were given to go through the experience. I was afraid and I found myself sleeping in the same tent with my colleague. He raped me at first but in the end I found myself submitting to his demands,” the spook said.

“This is no place for a woman,” another operative said. “My marriage is dysfunctional. I don’t love my husband anymore and I’m sure he feels the same about me. I feel so used. How can you love someone whom you cheat every day? It just makes you despise him. I wanted to set my husband free by divorcing him so that he could find a proper wife but my bosses told me to stay married to him because my husband knew too much about me and my work. I wish I had never joined this.”

Many female operatives have confessed their experiences to pastors and ‘prophets’ against the spy agency’s regulations. Operative and Midlands proportional representation MP Annastacia Ndhlovu and several others approached Harare clergyman Walter Magaya asking for help to get married but failed to get assistance after he asked them to confess their operational hits.

Operative Irene Zindi revealed in parliament that she was failing to get a man to marry her despite her wealth and status as Mutasa South MP.

A psychologist said operatives who went through such experiences would be deeply traumatized.

“The worst kind of torture that can happen to a woman is to be raped. It leaves her scarred. This usually manifests in violence, tantrums, rage, shame and eventually suicide or suicidal behaviour such as sexual promiscuity,” the psychologist said.

Gender activists said a parliamentary investigation should be mounted to probe the abuse of women by the CIO.

“Why are there no women in the top ranks of the CIO?” queried Kate Nhema, director of the Women’s Circle, which has documented sexual abuse of female CIO operatives for a report and television documentary titled ‘Deep Cover: The Lives and Times of Female Intelligence Operatives in Zimbabwe’. “The reason is that women are subjected to horrific abuses and there is no hope of advancing their careers within the spy agency.”

Nhema however noted with concern that many women could not report the abuses for fear of blowing their cover. She said ideally, the operatives should report such matters to Zimbabwe’s parliament but observed that it had no intelligence committee.

“The failure by the authorities to set up a specific intelligence committee in parliament is clearly aimed at preventing civilian oversight of the spy agency. This is just fuelling the abuse because the abused women are prevented from reporting to the police and there is no internal mechanism within the organization to deal with this,” Nhema said.

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