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The Rape Culture Being Faced by Malawian Women

The culture of making excuses for rapists and letting them off the hook is prevalent as ever in Malawi. A perfect example of this is the recent event that took place at Chancellor College where a first year female student was raped by 8 boys last Sunday.

The story is being justified by rape apologists claiming that she was drunk and and decided to sleep in her boyfriend’s room only to find his roommate. She still proceeded to sleep as she waited for him and it was at this time that her boyfriend’s roommate called his friends, reportedly screaming “kuli Nyama uku, kuli nyama” and this when the 8 boys came and raped her continuously. The boys in question were apparently drunk as well and are being reported to be her fellow first year students and reside in Lubani Hostel.

The president of the Gender Justice Clinic, Kirby Chinsinsi Kasinja, had made a comment on his whatsapp status updates mocking the girl and the situation and later came out with an apology to the students and members of the clinic claiming that he did not have full information on the matter and spoke hastily. He has since been asked to step down as president.

The young lady is currently in hospital and police are waiting for her to get better before they ask her to identify the perpetrators.

Several individuals have taken to social media to express their outrage on the matter, with many users in agreement that the boys should be expelled and jailed for what they had done to this girl. Other users are also calling out rape apologists and have expressed that men play dumb to the issue in order to exempt themselves from the horrendous things that rape victims have had to endure. Some men have come out claiming mental health issues are the reason why rapists do what they however they have been corrected in that rapists are normal in every aspect of their lives and it is difficult for victims to be believed because of the social standing that these rapists have.

Other examples that accompany this story and cause is that of a man in Mangochi who has been jailed for raping a 1 year old child. The case of Andrew Ngomwa, who was the chief commercial officer at Medical Aid Society of Malawi (MASM), where he defiled his 15 year old niece and went on the run only to later on hand himself over to authorities following allegations posed by the young girls mother.

These stories are absolutely heartbreaking and the level of victim blaming that is taking place is ridiculous. There is nothing that an individual does in order to cause someone to rape them. Rapists are simply rapists, they are not created and the atmosphere that has been created that claims some girls ask for it or are in the wrong place at the wrong time, just sheds light on how ignorant most people are to this topic. There is a need to create an understanding of what sexual violence is and no matter how uncomfortable the conversation may be for others, it is simply a conversation that needs to be had and heard.

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