Home » Human Rights » Zim Female Rapists Inspire Hollywood

STORIES of gangs of women abducting and raping men on Zimbabwe’s highways seemed incredible, when they broke. For a country that thrives on patriarchal attitudes and sometimes exaggerated machismo, it was stunning. Men in beerhalls and shebeens or kombis rubbished the claims as ‘impossible.’ How so? They asked. For many, the stories were the stuff of fiction or Hollywood. And indeed, the phenomena has found takers in Hollywood. Albeit as creative fodder for entertainment.

Hollywood’s Mara Brock-Akil’s new series, Being Mary Jane, starts with a pointed reference on ‘Zimbabwean women raping men.’ The series centres on successful talk show host Mary Jane Paul (played by Gabrielle Union), her professional and private family life, while searching for “Mr. Right.” As a talk show host, Mary Jane Paul in the popular series discusses the men-raping and sperm-harvesting phenomena in alluring detail, bringing on experts to give their take on the issue.

The phenomenon of male rape is unusual. But rape, no matter the victim, is a traumatising experience. In fact, rape is no laughing matter in Zimbabwe. At least 15 women are raped daily in the country, according to statistics by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Office (ZimStat). However, Zimbabwe cannot grasp the judicial concept of a woman raping a man. A Harare based law expert explained that ‘Zimbabwean law does not recognise women raping a man’ but the crime is only known as ‘aggravated indecent assault.’

Filmmaker, Brock-Akil, sees herself as a bit of a sociologist that uses her ability to observe and learn from other women in her work. In the series, there are also strands of real life stories from other parts of the world. “I think it’s great for me to have a voice, but I also think it’s great to create a legacy or an infrastructure for others to get their voices out there as well.” American audiences are often in the dark on what happens elsewhere.

Brock Akil is known for bringing black voices to American network television with a body of work that includes working as a writer and producer on Moesha and The Jamie Foxx Show and creator of game-changing shows Girlfriends and The Game, which taught mainstream Hollywood that black audiences do matter. With her husband, Salim Akil, they are among the most successful African-American couples working in Hollywood today. – By Tinashe Mushakavanhu

Source : Financial Gazette

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