Save me, Save yourself, Save everyone

I survived

Many people have called me brave for speaking out. Strong. Even powerful. Most days I’ve just felt unlucky. 

See so many people asked me so many questions. 

”Did it hurt?”

“Was I sure?”

“What did I wear?”

“I probably liked it.”

“Wasn’t I just being naughty.” 

The worst question, the absolute worst was, “was it a bad rape, because it couldn’t be that bad if I wasn’t physically hurt.”

If you ask me why I chose to write, ‘At What Age Does My Body Belong To Me?’ The answer is simple. I needed to speak out. Even If it was just to show one person that they weren’t alone. I needed to speak out. 

The bigger reason is I needed to know the answer to that question. It’s simple right. You might be tempted to say at birth. Yet when I walk down the street I’m still greeted loud sneering and whispers. Sometimes unwanted touches that turn to anger as I say no. That turn to anger as I fight back. 

See they are angry at my audacity to deny them of my body but who told them that it was theirs to take? 

Us as survivors we’ve become statistics and every year during 16 days of activism and during days of awareness these statistics are shared across the interwebs and they remain just that sad figures but we forget that these are real lives being affected. These are real people with names. 

My name is Amanda Marufu and I want you to remember that as you read this. 

’1 in 3 female rape victims experience it for the first time between 11-17 years old’

I was much younger than 11 the first time, broken in the place I was meant to call home

The second time, I was a teen held down a man who had sworn to protect me from the shadows I was trying to escape from at home. 

See that stat represents two things. Out of every crowd you see the number of girls who’ve been raped increases as the number of girls in that room grows. The second thing most times it doesn’t happen just once. 

We don’t discuss rape or abuse because it’s too ugly a word and we don’t want to admit that it’s still happening. Yet here I am, 24 years old and I still have nightmares. I still flinch a little when someone touches me. I still crouch when someone raises their voice a little too loudly. I still wish I could fight more than I wish for anything else in the world. I still wish I could protect myself from those that lurk in the light right in front of society and right in front of all seeing eyes.

I always used to ask myself if so many girls are being raped why does everyone pretend they don’t know a rapist. That it’s not indeed happening right in front of their eyes. 

Why does everyone still make jokes that insinuate that a Womens body is not her own and pretend that it is not problematic. Stop pretending because it is all problematic. 

And now for some very valid, very angry replies to stupid questions.

Disclaimer: it is not my job to make you feel better about your internalized guilt and I’m not here to tell you that it’s okay. IT’S NOT. 

1. If you feel like you should have protected your child better or done better You should have. There’s nothing more I can say on this. 

Look there’s NO ONE else to blame for rape and abuse but the perpetrators and we can agree on that.

But if your child spoke up and you did nothing. That’s on you.

If your child told you they felt uncomfortable around a certain person and you forced them to stay around that person anyway. That’s on you.

If you have an uncle, Sekuru calling your child my wife and asking them to sit on his lap and they are uncomfortable. STOP IT.

Protect your child. Let’s stop using culture and religion as an excuse to let people get away with their abusive tendencies. 

If your child came out about their abuse and you still because you were too scared to disrupt the family unit, forced them to stay around their abuser.

You should have done better. You should have believed your child. You should have never forced them in close proximity with someone they didn’t feel safe around.

I hear a lot of there was no way to know. They were a child. They accused the pastor of rape or he was such a good man and sooooo? So fucking what?? 

Let’s stop pretending rape happens in dark corners with monsters and Gauls from the underworld. It’s happening at home, at schools, at churches. By the same people who will smile at you and hold your hand and give you a prayer the next day. 

It’s happening right infront of your face, abuse does not happen in a vacuum. So yes you can do better.

2. Fuck outta here with the I’m now scared to have sex because I’ll be accused of rape or now I’m too scared to even approach a girl.

Good! Bloody Great! 

If you’re scared you’ll think twice , think a third time and wait to hear a yes. 

Do you feel safe walking alone at night? 

717,527 people worldwide over 68 million days of activity. They found that in countries all over the world, girls and women walk less than boys and men.

You might be wondering why that’s relevant and let me tell you. 

While learning a course on supporting victims of domestic abuse, I learnt this: 

On average women are scared of the most basic of human things. Walking. On average women just don’t feel safe walking alone. We are constantly scared. So yes, yes Jared you can afford to be scared and think twice before touching a woman. Before approaching a woman. Before doing anything. 

We think twice before crossing the street, getting into a kombie, a taxi or a car. Before walking through town in a dress because we will be harassed. When we hear footsteps coming up behind us. When a man decides to start swearing at us because we refused to give them our number. We think twice every single time we are alone in a public place. When we decide to drink in a club. When we are at work and we are placed in the position to either stay quiet or lose our job. Stay quiet or be failed at school. Be kicked out of school. We think twice every single day because we never feel safe. We are always scared. 

Because as Natalie Jester stated, 

“I don’t think men really understand the degree to which women feel unsafe.”

Read a few of these articles, on walking.

Last year, a US-based activist posed a hypothetical question to women on Twitter. “What would you do if all men had a 9pm curfew?”

The responses were shocking in their simplicity:

Go for a run

Walk in the woods

Sit on the beach at night

Listen to music with both earbuds in

Does it really affect you that much to just care about the person you are partaking in sexual intercourse with. I think not. 

Ask for consent. Consent isn’t silence. Consent is agreement. It’s a yes, anything else is not consent. So yes if you are going for a women and she doesn’t give you her consent. Please feel free to be scared. If for any second you feel doubt in your mind because you are not completely sure of her enjoyment. STOP!!

Just STOP! Ask, make sure she is comfortable. She is feeling pleasure and if at any point she says stop, then stop. Blue balls will NOT kill you. It’s really simple to be a decent guy so be one. If you feel inconvenience having to pause for two seconds and ask then you shouldn’t be touching her body anyway. 

Please and thank you. 

Love Amanda Tayte-Tait

Sexual harassment on LinkedIn

What does it mean to be safe?

”Ask a man what his greatest fear is about serving jail time, and he will almost inevitably say he fears being raped. What can we deduce from the fact that jail is to men what life is to so many women?”

Soraya Chemaly, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger

This is a piece I originally did in early 2020 before Quarantine and COVID 19 having forced the world to stop. Yet it’s even more important now as working from home has shone the light on the digital gender divide, online gender-based violence, and the choices we are constantly faced with as women working online. 

For many men being on an online platform like LinkedIn is simple. It’s a professional platform they utilize to make connections and advance their careers.

For women, the truth isn’t at all so simple. Sexual Harassment of women online and offline isn’t a new topic but it’s to see that even professional platforms like Linkedin are still rampant breeding grounds for Harassment.

Last year we partnered with Hedone to do an article on Online Gender-Based Violence which you can find here and one thing is clear. The online world echoes the offline world and all the violence and harassment we face offline is rampant on the internet. 

As a people we have grown up with the misconception that abuse only means rape but what is Sexual Harassment defined as.

According to the Human Rights Commission; ‘Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behavior, which could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. It can be physical, verbal, or written.

A single incident is enough to constitute sexual harassment – it doesn’t have to be repeated.’

Trying to see the extent of this harassment I started making a conscious effort to connect with people on LinkedIn and one thing was evident. 

There was a mixture of interactions and these were my results. A few men blatantly went from hi to calling you beautiful and asking to go for lunch. A few genuine job opportunities one that I am now pursuing with a female-led company and then the drastic ones who asked for your number straight from the first interaction and started using words like babe and would even persist sending messages when they didn’t receive a reply. 

According to LinkedIn: distribution of global audiences 2019, gender

During the survey period, 43 percent of LinkedIn audiences were female and 57 percent were male.

At first glance, this could mean absolutely nothing but when you take a closer look at the culture and growing rates of Harassment on LinkedIn you begin to notice several women who are more and more feeling fed up with the site and opting out instead.

According to human resources online, ‘Some women like Andrea Myles are taking matters into their own hands. Tired of the level of harassment on LinkedIn she took to pretending to be a man on LinkedIn so she could use the service in relative peace.’

Last year I also took a small survey with 5 groups of women averaging around 500 women and it was evident that almost all of them had dealt with sexual harassment at some point or another.

Below are a few of the stories the ladies had to share and some pieces of advice. Names have been kept anonymous to protect their identity.

”So this has been happening all the time on LinkedIn. I’m talking real grown men with influential positions in the corporate world. The scary part is that this even happened when my profile picture was 14 year old me (it was the only picture I could access when I created the account). At first, these men dm me talking about what they do and how they can help then boom they’re talking about their “needs”. 

The worst one was a perv that claimed to be a software engineer in America, single and a virgin. He said he was looking for a wife and he was 56 years old. He didn’t even say hie, he went straight to the point.”

‘’ Yes this has happened to me so many times, how to reply to them: 

“Your comments are inappropriate. I have no interest in communicating with you beyond discussing our areas of professional intersect. If you wish to continue interacting, you will have to communicate with me with dignity, decency, and respect.”

Beyond asking if you are well, there is no need for a person to know any other detail of your life. That information is on a need-to-know basis, and connections on LI do not need to know. 

Use my reply as a template. DO NOT TRY TO BE “CUTE”. Emojis are not necessary. Do not think you have to apologize for ‘misleading’ them. If it is not the attention you desire, there is nothing to apologize for. Do not use words/phrases such as maybe, perhaps, I’m not sure, sorry, I was hoping. Do not reply using a sarcastic tone. 


(i) *how you feel*: I’m uncomfortable with the direction this conversation is going in. 

(ii) *what they said that made you feel that way*: Calling me sexy is completely inappropriate. 

(iii) *what your boundaries are*: I have no interest in discussing any beyond business. 

(iv) *what the consequences are of violating your boundaries*: If you insist on speaking to me in this manner, I will report (and block) you.

The only way to deal with the fear is to speak to a trusted friend/mentor/counselor/HR or Labour Law Professional/lawyer. And get your support network into gear. 

If they try to block you from work it’s a difficult one unless you can prove it. i.e. the person threatened you and it’s in writing or you recorded the phone conversation’’

”I had an international PR company approach me, they were in South Africa and wanted to expand into Zimbabwe (this was about 2 years back), I was working the job I dreaded, a tad bit desperate and unsure but it was a dream job situation. Something felt off from the minute I was sent details about it, with much persistence from a colleague I gave in (tried to see it as an opportunity). I fixed up my media kit on my tablet, sent it via email and a meeting was set up. He was a quirky American very well vested in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa in general. I picked up that he had a wandering eye over the interview but again shrugged it off because I was tryna be professional. I got the role on a probation basis, he sent me a tonne of content-related work but I couldn’t keep up. One day at work a picture came through WhatsApp, I was too busy so I left it thinking arggghh more work! Later when I was settled I opened the message, but I did not open the picture because something told me it was a dick pic – I froze because I immediately knew what it was. I kept quiet for two days straight. He ended up texting sporadic and crazy emails apologizing for what had happened and said it was his mistress from Paris (he was very well-traveled and connected with top brands in SA), I kept my chill and I told him sternly I will not tolerate this kind of behavior or any kind on any other level in the future. At the time, I wasn’t in the right head space (work exhausted me) so I let it slide; looking back I should have taken abit more action BUT I have all the emails and chats backed up. He just went quiet after that and that was it. I don’t know what happened and quite frankly didn’t reply the last batch of emails.

I think as young women we need to pray about these things (literally) because in any workplace we are targets. It seems as if it’s something that we cannot avoid (I worked in the medical field and this guy placed his hand on my lower Abdomen area, he was a radiologist administering a scan because I wasn’t feeling too well and I think he saw it as an opportunity. Problem is I really liked him so again I let it slide, wrong of me because I should have reported it). I did however approach him in private and he brushed it off, I think at the time I was unsure and even though I approached him (and liked him) nigga had a wandering eye and threw snarky sexual comments to women as jokes (hence ladies pay attention to these things because predators actually mean what they say). He had a very good position in the clinical practice, handsome so it was easy to fall for him but looking back the guy was a serious pervert.

Lessons learnt;

1. Your gut/6th sense does not LIE!

2. DO NOT PLEASE PEOPLE – I grew up in a very strict and well mannered home so being rude was a no, hence I equally struggled saying no even when it made me feel uncomfortable. But you need to have thick skin in the working world because that shit is fucked up!


4. Report if you have to, even if your job is on the line you might actually save someone who didn’t have the balls to.

5. Pray about your job when you walk in because some people are seriously broken.”

“I have about 11500 linkedin contacts and I have had many men inbox me and say suggestive things. Same thimg on facebook and on whatsapp groups.

The easiest for me is to not respond and block them.

I agree with all the responses given and would add that don’t accommodate it or flirt then try to pull out of the convo. The man will think you are playing hard to get.

Pick a brand and stick to it. It is a small market and one slip up and that becomes your brand – discrediting all your hard work. People will think you got where you are only because of your bum work

Beyond the online advances we also need to be alert and reject any in person advances. 

I was watching a movie on the sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes at Fox & also looking at the metoo campaign and was just thinking of how many women don’t act on sexual harassment. We need to start speaking out!!!’’

’’Most of the time your gut/intuition is spot on trust your initial feelings about a man being extra nice(read as crossing the line). It sucks though but here we are. I’ve personally had to block men I met at meetings, or gave my business card too who would then call or text me in the middle of the night and try to take it further because they think they have a right to our bodies, time etc. I think we all have had some experience of this behaviour. Let’s not even go into the unsolicited body part pics that some have received. Just always have your boundaries and never bend them for anyone.’’

’’This has happened to me. Especially when they notice that your bio says you’re looking for work. They’ll ask for your number, ask you to lunch etc. I (unfortunately) took one lunch offer cause I thought it was going to be work related. I even carried my CV and everything only for the man to ward off any mention of work talk and he started calling me ba etc. I went home and blocked him. Now if someone asks me to lunch I ask if it’s business (because I freelance as a side hustle) or a social lunch. If he says it’s the latter, politely decline. If it’s the former, ask for specifics and send him an email (yes be extra 😅) outlining what you’ve agreed to discuss in the meeting. I guarantee you if he was playing, he’ll back out of the meeting. Otherwise, always keep your responses and interactions as short, formal and curt as possible on LinkedIn because the predators hiding behind big positions are PLENTY.’’

’’Went to a meeting with my boss once and the man (senior in his field) we were meeting looked at my card and when he didn’t see a mobile number asked for it. I looked him dead in the eye and said I don’t have a mobile work phone. When we stepped outside my boss asks me why I didn’t give him my mobile number. I told him men don’t understand boundaries when they think they like you and till the office gives me a phone and number, my personal number is off limits. The ride back to the office was uncomfortably silent but he got the message.’’

’’This is so true, it has happened to me before and just today I received an email from some guy asking me out and he sent me his pictures and a rose😳

Such emails I block and delete.

For those local that I meet at workshops I make sure I dont entertain them I strictly keep our conversations as business and make sure that person sees i’m not the flirty flirty type. Put on a lions face if need be so that these men don’t take you for granted. I have gained respect from it before. At times I smile get what I want then block and delete. 

If the person blocks you…i would say that’s not the end of the world…more and better opportunities will come. And when something is yours no one will ever block it or deny it from happening.’’

‘’Hi ladies

My advice to young professional women is be very clear why you are pursuing the career path that you are on. Because you are a woman in the business environment you already have a few things that work against you. No matter how hard you work, they will always be people who want to link your personal success to some male influence even though all your achievements are on merit.

Avoid flirting of any sort with business associates. Be very clear who you give your number and why you do. Keep all business interactions formal.

Some men have twisted ways of interpreting women’s actions. But at the end of the day we have control over who we allow in our circles.

One thing I have come to appreciate with time is that there is no man that can close me out of any business deal that I am qualified to do. They can try but position your skills in such a way that they are valued and needed. Create your own seat at the table.

Most of us disadvantage ourselves tolerating nonsense in the hope of creating professional ladders through links that have no business in our lives in the first place

Clarity of who you are, where you are going, what you want to achieve  is critical in weaning and wadding off unwanted attention. Also ladies listen and pay attention to the subtle advances and deal with them immediately’’

‘’I recently heard someone say, “We legalise what we cannot control.”

We (humankind) cannot control physical, sexual, emotional and mental abuse, so we were forced to create laws to determine the point at which the illegal has occured. How flawed the human heart is and how dysfunctional  the brain is, which can figure out how to send rovers to Mars but we still have toxic workplaces…’’

‘’As a woman, you have to be able to stand your ground all the time. Also you have to bear in mind that to an extent men gossip more than women. Any character slip up on the woman’s part is openly discussed men in different forums.’’

‘’Hi Amanda, yes this has happened to me a few times. I remind them this is a professional site and their line of inquiry is inappropriate. If they continue I delete them as a connection. Young women should value themselves and all their hardwork. It isn’t wrong to professionally communicate when you feel uncomfortable or disrespected.’’

‘’First observe personal space avoiding hugging every one.

By not entertaining sexual toned jokes from non friends of the opposite sex

By telling them you are not interested

Avoid getting intoxicated around them some people may cross the line when drunk or high

Knowing when to stop if you enjoy flirting’’

‘’YES, I was younger and curious so in a sense I did not immediately understand what was going on. I just stopped replying when I realized what was going on. Also the guy was really aggressive.

Your intuition is almost never wrong, if the conversation begins to feel personal, it probably is.

We all learnt communication skills but when all else fails just don’t reply or report the account for unprofessional behaviour. Reporting is anonymous so they won’t actually know it was you.

The moment conversations become personal, make sure you screenshot the conversations for future use. Like Thembi said, it’s the year of Monica Lewinsky done right. Always cover your bases.

I actually left LinkedIn because of this nonsense behavior’’

‘’Not on LinkedIn but I had an older male colleague try to get his sexual harrasment rocks off. At first I tried the usual avoidance tactics then I reported him to HR. When HR approached him he resigned to avoid a hearing. He told people he would ‘get’ me 🤷🏾‍♀  never heard from him again.

Colleagues were like ‘was it even that serious’ but those are women who think men are entitled to women’s time and attention. It’s all fun and games until you’ve had a man corner you in your office and refuse to leave without a kiss.’’

‘’When I was a waitress. There was a manager who liked me and because it took the smallest things to be fired I would smile and be nice to him. One day he gave me toilet duty and when I was done he came and stood in front of the men’s bathroom and I was trapped inside the only thing that saved me was a mop I threatened to feed him’’

‘’Yes it’s happened numerous times. I didn’t  understand it at first but when the guy was trying to be too close I usually said I have studies to do or help my parents or simply didn’t  reply at all. If I got harrassed too much via texting then I told it to my boss or showed it to my head  

Recognize  at first whether the person is taking up your personal space , digital abuse, trying to text too much maybe . Follow your intuition when you feel something is not right.

Say you have to complete the work immediately  and that you can’t  reply much. Maintain boundaries at first 

If we keep fearing that said person who threatens to harm our future opportunities.  You can leave that place or complain to your head or always have evidence maybe of when they made you feel threatened  ( last part I am only saying it in my opinion)

Keep the evidence! Anything that proves that they will harm you in the future, so that  you don’t  have to fear them.’’

Through talking to numerous women and experiencing the platform myself it’s evident that offline and online we are still years away from having a society where sexual harassment is a thing of the past.

Please share your story or a piece of advice in the comments below.

Will #MuteRKelly Cause You To Stand Up and Speak Out? Part 3 and 4

Riddle me this? 

Imagine this was the world reacting to colonisation, ‘Why did black people agree to be slaves?’ ‘Maybe they wanted it!’ ‘They should have just left if they didn’t want it to happen.’ 

Sound Insane? 

Well so does this: 

If you missed part 1 and part 2 go back and check them out.

Let’s talk about part 3

In the first few minutes of part 2, we learn this, ‘Robert (RKelly) feels like he can’t be touched and in hindsight in society we made me him feel like he can’t be.’ 

A little while back a local artist in Zimbabwe started a sexual harrastment campaign in the arts industry and what should have been clear cut right and wrong was clouded society showing disbelief and even a step further just blantly refusing to listen and blaming it on the female as we often do. 

By the end of the part 2 we are introduced to the 14 year old girl from the famous sex tape that led to charges being brought against RKelly for 4 counts of child pornography. 

In the video RKelly is described to have engaged in a money transaction with this girl who was the niece of one of his back up vocalists before proceeding with this 14 year old girl and performing various forms of sexually degrading acts including peeing and urinating on her. 

Now we’ve already mentioned the rise of young women in our country who are as young as 11 who are performing sexual acts for money but let’s talk a little on why he got away with it.

Charges were filed and despite a lot of women stepping up and speaking out including some of his employees who alluded that this was not the only tape were he had recorded himself having sex with a minor and well the fact that this was intact RKelly in this video (concrete proof if there ever was) RKelly was found to be not guilty! 

First all this tape was copied and circulated in the streets and I’m not even going to point out how many school girls tapes have been circulated grown men and women alike in our own country instead of outrage and putting a stop to it we see alot of people engaging in gossip and calling it a trend instead.

Even after all this people were still not willing to cut ties with RKelly and see him for who he truly was, why? 

We always blame the victim! 

After RKelly pleads not guilty (he hadn’t been aquitated yet)he went straight back to performing for little kids, protected the church and civil right leaders he didn’t skip a beat but the people whose life changed for ever were the victims. 

When you experience rape/ abuse and or sexual trauma, ‘your trust in the world and belief in right and wrong is shattered too, at least mine was. Before you were raped, you understood if you didn’t go down dark alleys at night you wouldn’t get raped. You knew rape happened, but you also knew it wouldn’t happen to you because you knew what a rapist looked like. In America that stereotype is a black or minority male or if a white male he would be covered with tattoos. You knew where rape happened too, in those dark alleys and dangerous looking places, so you just had to avoid those places.

Much of our society clings to this feeling that we can prevent rape because we know how to avoid it. We think we know what rapists look like and where rape happens. It’s why judges give clean-cut white male offenders lenient sentences because it couldn’t have really been rape or at least not a “bad rape” if he doesn’t look like a rapist. If our society actually started handing out equal sentences to all rapists a lot more clean-cut looking men and women would be behind bars. Our society would have to grapple with the idea that anyone can be a rapist, and that’s a pretty scary place to live.’  Citizen Truth

Coming back here at home we have a hard time talking about sex let alone admitting that things like rape even exist because if they did then maybe we would have to admit that even good men can be wrong and that maybe we can’t teach girls how not to get raped because she isn’t a danger to herself, her abuser is! 

In part 2 we talked about the fact that 8 out of 10 rape cases are done a relative or someone that the victim knows this allocating to 8 out of 10 cases happening in the home were the victim feels safe or even at school were she should be receiving an education.

What this should tell us is that there is no way to protect yourself from rape or abuse. Nothing you can do right, no way for you to be safe but somehow a large amount of internet comments are about the victims and how they shouldn’t have been complacent in their own abuse?

In part 4, When one of the jurors present in RKellys case was asked why he didn’t find him guilty, he had this to say, ‘I just didn’t believe them, the women, I know it sounds ridiculous the way they sound, the way they act, I didn’t like them, I disregarded all what they said.’

In the court of public opinion it seemed for years RKelly was winning and despite how many women came up, including his ex wife Andrea, noone had sympathy for the women including those that were underage at the time. 

Time time after time on social media we see that people are more than prepared to scold the victim but not as nearly able to hold the abuser accountable for his actions.

And why is that can we choke it all up to lack of respect of the African women? Or fear of the African man? Patriarchy? 

According to Psychology Today, ‘This sort of victim blaming is not unique to bullying cases. It can be seen when rape victims’ sexual histories are dissected, when people living in poverty are viewed as lazy and unmotivated, when those suffering from mental or physical illness are presumed to have invited disease through poor lifestyle choices. There are cases where victims may indeed hold some responsibility for their misfortunate, but all too often this responsibility is overblown and other factors are discounted.

Why are we so eager to blame victims, even when we have seemingly nothing to gain? 

Victim blaming is not just about avoiding culpability—it’s also about avoiding vulnerability. The more innocent a victim, the more threatening they are. Victims threaten our sense that the world is a safe and moral place, where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. When bad things happen to good people, it implies that no one is safe, that no matter how good we are, we too could be vulnerable. The idea that misfortune can be random, striking anyone at any time, is a terrifying thought, and yet we are faced every day with evidence that it may be true. 

In the 1960s, social psychologist Dr. Melvin Lerner conducted a famous serious of studies in which he found that when participants observed another person receiving electric shocks and were unable to intervene, they began to derogate the victims. 

The more unfair and severe the suffering appeared to be, the greater the derogation. Follow up studies found that a similar phenomenon occurs when people evaluate victims of car accidents, rape, domestic violence, illness, and poverty. Research conducted Dr. Ronnie Janoff-Bulman suggests that victims sometimes even derogate themselves, locating the cause of their suffering in their own behavior, but not in their enduring characteristics, in an effort to make negative events seem more controllable and therefore more avoidable in the future.

Lerner theorized that these victim blaming tendencies are rooted in the belief in a just world, a world where actions have predictable consequences and people can control what happens to them. 

It is captured in common phrases like “what goes around comes around” and “you reap what you sow.” We want to believe that justice will come to wrongdoers, whereas good, honest people who follow the rules will be rewarded. 

Research has found, not surprisingly, that people who believe that the world is a just place are happier and less depressed. But this happiness may come at a cost—it may reduce our empathy for those who are suffering, and we may even contribute to their suffering increasing stigmatization.’

“We want to think that if we do the right thing, it’s all going to be OK,” says Ham. “It’s threatening to see other people not be OK, so we want to come up with an explanation of why that experience won’t happen to us.”

According to the guardian, ‘The fact that we have this victim-blaming tendency, which is enhanced when people fear threats to their group or society, does not mean that it is immutable. The authors found that there was a simple way to begin to minimize it. In another experiment in their study, Niemi and Young compared victim-blaming among people who had been exposed to stories that spotlighted either the perpetrator or the victim. 

When the language focused on the perpetrator’s actions – victim-blaming decreased.

Instead of focusing on victims’ behavior, we need to ask more questions about why perpetrators continue to commit acts of violence, and why some are allowed to take far more than their fair share in a world that most of us would prefer to see as just.’

Can we do better? 

By Amanda Marufu

Part 3:

Part 4:


Will #MuteRKelly Cause You To Stand Up and Speak Out? Part 2

What makes a man a monster or an angel?

Many times when we are talking about abuse, we hear people say things like but he is such a good person, he has a good heart, he did a,b,c for the community so he can’t possibly have done what they are accusing him off but we forget that everyone human is equally possible of both good and bad acts!

If you missed part 1 you can find it here.

Let’s begin to unpack the monster within!

Part 2 begins with us getting to know the real RKelly. The man the woman know as Robert and we learn that at first he was kind and charming, would often open up about his inability to read or write and we also get introduced to his ex-wife Andrea.

Now often times in the media and in the public we hear this: ‘she should have known better’ or ‘why did she get involved with him in the first place?’

Well guys, the devil is a master munipulator and this is no secret.

If you were to meet someone and the first thing they did was call you a bit**h or a slut then of course you would have the common sense to stay away.

If you met me and at first sight I would pin you down and beat you, of course you would have the common sense to stay away and even report me on sight.

I haven’t gotten into your head and I definitely haven’t gotten into your heart.

We often ask why women can love a monster because women are nurtures nature, we want to love and protect and what’s synonymous with these women’s stories is he would open up about the abuse and loss he felt, he would be a broken bird that needs help and I know when you meet a person in need of help (if you consider yourself kind that is) you wouldn’t just cast a blind eye.

Both The Proffesor of Criminalogy and Clinical Psychologist in the series, say that, ‘Abusers often use their own vulnerability to build trust and make the victim feel comfortable,’ it’s like how we attract fish using a worm or lure a rat using cheese, a monster is never just a monster.

Around the world we often hear abuse and rape stories happening in the church with some church elder hiding behind the pulpit which is the case in RKelly case were his been able to hide behind a few gospel songs for two whole decades I’ve even heard some people say that trying to put RKelly down would be, falling for the work of the Illuminati’ did we all forget about all the nude music videos and lude behavior prior or is this what having a selective memory is like?

According to an article published Nehanda Radio: ‘Although police could not immediately verify the figures, ZimStat data shows that 1 067 murder cases and 7 394 rape cases were reported in 2017.

A total of 7 551 rape cases were recorded in 2014 and the number went up to 7 752 in 2015 before surging to 8 069 in 2016.’

The data shows an 81 percent increase in rape cases between 2010 and 2016.

Just to put this in perspective 1 girl is raped every single hour of the day in our country and this totals to 22 girls being raped every single day.

Taking this a step further Gender activists and women’s organisations are on record stating that more than 60 percent of rape cases recorded in the country yearly involve children below the age of 16 and the majority of this abuse is done relatives and this is 8 out 10 cases and only 12% of these are ever reported to the police.

What’s alarming here is you know these abusers! These are your neighbors, your brothers, fathers, uncles, teachers in schools, sons and just so we keep this balanced these are your sisters too.

When we look for what a rapist can and can’t be we often try find the cold, quiet guy whose only crime might just be that he is extremely anti-social that we ignore that the monsters we seek are often the warm friendly Neighbour you would swear behind and say no, she has to be lying even after a long pattern spanning 25 years has been released we often would rather stay blind.

One of the women in the documentary talks about how he acted when the switch finally flipped and how he would drag her around and force her to perform sexual acts and what is evident in each women’s story is the need to own and control the woman and the need to never have her speak back to him and never have her argue or question what he said.


Many people who have been abused, experienced abused or have seen abuse happening often times have issues with control. They feel insecure about the lack of control their own lives and therefore seek to control the lives of their victims.

RKelly is described to have controlled everything in these women’s lives from the way they spoke, how they dressed, who they talked to, what they ate, when they ate and even when and if they could use the bathroom and below is a short excerpt from the book written one of the survivors:

Now in our culture, we are almost single-handedly raised to submit to men and to submit in our relationships but is the submission we are instilling in our kids more harmful than it is enriching?

I have heard remarks that go from small things like, ‘He didn’t like the way I dressed,’ to ‘ I have to ask for his permission before I do a,b,c.’ Much worse is,’Do not be too outspoken or he will be intimidated you.’ and even, ‘you can never be richer or more educated than your husband because he must be the provider!’

As a society we look towards our women and ask well, ‘what did you do to cause him hit you?’, ‘If he angered you, you must have angered him somehow.’ and I’ve heard this being used to justify women who were beat because they did not kneel for a man whilst serving him food.

In the depths of all this, the woman is always urged to stay and never allowed to leave and so as young girls we constantly learn that men are obeyed without question. That the husband comes first but ladies I’m here to tell you that the need to control is the mark of an insecure man!

If he loves you, he will not be threatened your strength but instead, he will be uplifted it.

If he loves you he will be your support.

If he loves you he will urge you to shine your light and never expect you to be diminished.

and most of all, if he loves you he will never raise his hand against you!

It is not your job to fix what is broken within him that makes him not feel like a real man, that is between him and the Lord!

The true mark of man is not in how weak his woman is but how strong she can be.

This story shows us that most of the monsters in our society are hiding in plain sight and a lot of the time we give them the power to get away with it because we choose to keep the blinders on and only see the half of the picture that fits into our narrative of what is right and wrong.

Do we continue to live blinded our perception of what makes a man good?

Full link to part two of the Docu Series

By Amanda Marufu

Will #MuteRKelly Cause You To Stand Up and Speak Out? Part 1

RKelly has been trending on the internet not just this year but for a period spanning 20 years over the paedophile, child pornography, sexual assault, domestic violence and abuse allegations. (We won’t be using the term allegedly a lot in this article because look if it quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, you get the point)

To fully unpack this issue and most importantly why and how it relates to us we need to do a quick run-down of the documentary (full links will be at the bottom of each article)

Part 1:

We are introduced to RKelly as a child, his shy, can’t read or write all he has is music, low income family etc. We also find out that his brother was molested but RKelly (Robert) told him not to speak about it and we later learn than RKelly himself was molested as child too.)

Why is this especially important to us as Zimbabweans and as society?

We have become so desensitized from abuse because it happens so often in our homes that it’s considered normal.

I recently sat through a conversation in a local salon that featured Artist, Enzo were there were rumours that his wife beat him because of the state of his video and the women who were dancing in it and one young woman replied, ‘Well Enzo has no problem with it because he says he did something that displeased her and therefore he deserved it and he probably would do the same if she did something wrong.’

And this sparked shock in me because no one stood up for him and said, ‘No that’s wrong he wouldn’t do that.’ Instead it sparked a conversation about how ‘Haaa Varume Vanorova Kani! (Men Beat) and they then proceeded to share stories on why a man would beat you and what would cause him to do it and this got me thinking. Am I the only one who notices what’s wrong with this conversation?

Now you have to realize this, abuse is a cycle. What we see from most abusers is that they themselves grew up in abusive homes and it’s almost conclusively true in our community so much so it’s not shocking to hear that a woman is getting abused, it’s only shocking when a dead body is found but we forget that this behaviour stemmed from somewhere but no one stopped to check it and stop it in its wake.

From this point we progress through RKelly’s rise to stardom and his rise to fame. Then we begin to hear stories of him hanging out at high schools and hanging out at the mall to pick up girls. (High School Girls are typically between the age of 13-18)

In the Docu Series we hear comments like, ‘I always heard stories of RKelly hanging out at High Schools and I always wondered what he was doing there.’ (Really?) Then we hear another comment which was, (He would come the school and he would always leave with a girl)

Now we’ve already talked about the dangers of normalizing situations but does this sound familiar at all?? No?? Let me help you: Blessers!

In the past few years it’s become a trend for people to be talking about Blessers who were previously known as Sugar Daddies who bless or date young girls, a lot of the times teenagers.

We’ve seen the headlines, we’ve read the articles. We hear of these men who stop their cars for young girls in uniform, we’ve even gone as far as to shame these girls and some girl schools found in our city but why are we letting these men stop their cars for these kids? Why do we paint it as okay but are shocked when we are told of the high levels of rape and abuse in our country when it is happening often right in front of our eyes without anyone even batting an eye. I’ve even seen posts that read, (Ama 2000s are now ripe for picking) we argue that she’s over 16 but when did we forget that his a grown ass man with full control of where he puts his dick  and she is indeed still a child?

They asked this, ‘Why didn’t anyone notice? The answer is we all noticed but no one cared because we were black girls.’

We hear in the documentary them talking about RKelly would say, ‘go out and get some girls’ and now I know you’ve heard this statement said all the time, men will be like, ‘Tsvaga Mabhebhi Ka,’ some call them mbeda and very few times does anyone stop to check how young these said girls that are spoken of as simple objects are. No one even stops and says no, it’s done, quickly and in the open without anyone batting an eye.

The famous Aaliyah.

Now the story of Aaliyah happened in 1994 and just to show how absolutely insane this is, this was 25 years ago. Aaliyah met Robert when she was 12 years old. (Let me repeat that 12) Later some dancers saw the two having sex in his trailer which then led to a marriage between him and Aaliyah when she was 15. RKelly forged the marriage certificate and said that she was 18 but the parents later found out about the marriage and the marriage was annulled.

Two things here, this pattern started 25 years ago, understand this man has been having sex with minors for longer than I’ve been on this earth but he is still a free man.

Number two is this wasn’t a secret, this marriage was leaked to the papers along with the forged marriage certificate and the story but collectively as a society we still continued on to listen to and celebrate his music for years to come only for people more who still haven’t watched the documentary but are interested in another piece of gossip to still speculate on, the moral vs legality clause and whether he indeed should be punished for what he has done. The guy did release a song titled Age ain’t nothing but a number.

Which begs to ask the question: Are men proud of their sexual exploitations?

We had this conversation about how as a society women are raised to be pure and to stay virgins and men are praised for getting laid but no one has ever reconciled that if she is slut who is she being a slut with? And if he is just having sex then who is he having sex with?

Our men grow up feeling entitled to sex, some even feel like they aren’t enough of a man if they aren’t having any sex and often enough this is seen as a trophy. The more a man goes through a long series of women the cooler he is, the more his praised for it.

We’ve heard of the, ‘she wanted it’ phrase all too often. Here in Zimbabwe I’ve even often heard, ‘Women say no when they really mean yes.’

I’ve talked to girls who’ve been raped and been met with the same resistance and are told, ‘if it’s your boyfriend its not rape.’

Earlier this week these are numerous conversations from different whatsapp groups rising from this RKelly debate(names and numbers have been removed)

Here is one common thread, it’s almost unheard of for people to talk about this topic seriously, a lot of people will justify sex with a minor. Two a lot of people will go the step further and justify rape but it isn’t rape just because you don’t call it rape right? Wrong!

Second of all are we really still defending him?

We look at this story with outrage and people say well if his guilty why hasn’t he been arrested. Why hasn’t anything been done but even here in our own country we see the same patterns and the same abuse happening on a daily.

Approximately 250 million girls are married before they reach age 15. In Zimbabwe a country that continues to fail the girl child, According to the Sunday Mail 2 July 2017, the statistics of child marriages are as follows: Mashonaland Central 50%, Mashonaland West 42%, Masvingo 39%, Mashonaland East 36%, Midlands 31%, Manicaland 30%, Matebeleland North 27%, Harare 19%, Matebeleland South 18%, and Bulawayo 10%.

Why are Child marriage rates still so high in our country when we all know its happening and it’s not uncommon to hear of 12 year olds even 11 year olds here who are exchanging sex for money or are being married off their families?

This story of RKelly isn’t meant to be another entertainment story to fill up your WhatsApp and get you laughing for a few seconds stop and think are you too a part of the bigger problem? Or you be a part of the change?

Full link to the part one of the docu series:

Part 2 to follow!

By Amanda Marufu