No Sex, We’re Zimbabweans!
Now Daily Special Report
- Zimbabweans arrive in Lusaka, Zambia.
Zimbabweans are spending unusually long periods without having sex with their spouses and this is causing a breakdown in marriages, fuelling AIDS and domestic violence, experts have said.
Some married men and women have gone for more than 20 years without sleeping with each other, straining relationships, says a new study published by research firm N4 on Wednesday to coincide with International Women’s Day.
“Due to the deepening economic and political crisis in the country, married people are spending longer periods away from home because of work commitments,” the report said. “Although this is voluntary absence, the strain of going without spousal sex for lengthy periods often manifests itself in extra-marital sex which can be short or long-term.”
The worst-affected couples are those in which partners went to countries with tough visa regimes that did not easily accommodate spouses or where distance made it both expensive and impractical to commute regularly.
The report commissioned by the Women’s Council said the issue was complicated by falling incomes locally and the need for married partners to travel abroad, go across borders and work in far off towns and cities. Many of the partners could not afford to travel and be with their families at crucial times, leading to mistrust and marital disputes.
“In the past, it was mostly men who left home to go and work in the cities and mines. Today, a lot of women have to go and work away from home for long periods, especially in neighbouring countries. The research found that trust often broke down, resulting in tensions and violence when the partners eventually met. Many couples do not trust each other to be faithful even when they are living together and the situation gets worse when they are forced apart for long periods with little or no money for regular communication,” Women’s Council director Kate Nhema told Now Daily.
The researchers found that educational and employment opportunities that had opened up for women often kept them away from home or kept them busy, resulting in their partners suspecting they were involved with other men.
“Regular, uninhibited communication is usually the solution for couples that are forced apart by business or distance. Spouses need reassurance. Some people we interviewed have gone for twenty years without meeting their spouses but they remained faithful because they were always in touch by phone or mail. More important, the breadwinner must always fulfil his or her part as expected because financial problems can sometimes drive people to infidelity,” Nhema said.
- Some Zim women are forced into prostitution.
She added that because of financial problems, many spouses had regular disputes over money and translated to less sex.
Nhema lambasted president Robert Mugabe’s government, Zanu PF and United Nations agencies for paying lip service to the cause of women by holding ‘festivals and galas’ which gave the false impression that the condition of women was improving.
“Zanu PF is the chief abuser of women through sexual violence perpetrated by their militias which the courts never prosecute and which the UN never investigates or condemns. The police force, which is largely staffed by members of Zanu PF’s Border Gezi militia or Green Bombers is out on the streets everyday harassing, beating, robbing and demanding sex from vendors who are mostly women. Another Zanu PF militia, Chipangano extorts money and demands sex from vendors at Mbare market every day but nothing is being done. Female students are being abused by lecturers but we never see any practical action being taken to address the problem. Young children are being forced into sex slavery under the guise of marriage but we see Mugabe hobnobbing with the abusers, dressed in those white Vapositori gowns during his election campaigns. Discrimination and sexual violence is rampant in the workplace but nothing is being done, especially by the labour and gender ministers who are women,” said Nhema.
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