On 3 January 2016, a woman screamed for help for 30 minutes as she was being raped and choked. A security guard named Dickson Nungu in an apartment at Crescent Court near the Bulawayo Power Station in Bulawayo, the second-largest city in Zimbabwe, then rescued her. He had to use a sjambok — a heavy whip — to subdue the rapist so that he could handcuff him. Mr. Nungu said, “I heard prolonged screams of a woman at the flat opposite my work place. For a while I thought probably it was some patient from the nearby 24-hour surgery. After hearing the pleading cries begging someone for help for more than 30 minutes, I got worried and stood up trying to figure out where exactly the screams were coming from.” He investigated and saw tenants in the apartment building looking out their windows. He said, “I went straight to a door on the ground floor where I asked what was happening. Some tenants said they had been involved in skirmishes with robbers countless times and so wouldn’t take the risk of stepping outside to save whoever was in trouble. I asked where exactly the screams were coming from and they said usually it would be in the corridors heading upstairs.” He returned to his workplace, grabbed a sjambok, and then returned. He said, “When I went up the corridor, I found a man who looked in his 30s with his pants below his knees — raping and throttling the woman who was almost unconscious. The woman, who said she was 26 years old, was bleeding from the nose [and] mouth and had a big cut on her shoulder.” The rapist attempted to pull something out of his pocket. Mr. Nungu said, “I immediately struck him once with the sjambok and he tried to retaliate, coming towards me before I gave him a second stroke. By then people were all over the place. Still pants down, he went onto his knees and begged for forgiveness but I quickly handcuffed him. In no time the police were there and arrested him. [When the police asked] him a few questions, he responded using signs like he was deaf and dumb.” Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango said, “I can confirm receiving a report on rape, and investigations are underway.” A female neighbor said, “It’s unfortunate we’re not safe and are endangered at that apartment because of its proximity to bars and night clubs where criminals hide. So many times tenants have been left nursing wounds after trying to save people at night.” She added, “Amongst the crowd were some girls who said they had seen the assailant an hour earlier picking up the woman from the floor in the bar and carrying her on his back. They said they thought the two knew each other. The woman had begged this man to stop, but it’s clear he raped her and she didn’t know him. It’s never wise for women to drink until they pass out because probably had she been sober she could have managed to fight this vicious man. Imagine, had it not been for this brave man, she could have been killed.” Note: The author of this blog agrees that it’s never wise for women — or men — to drink until they pass out, but it can be difficult or impossible to fight off an attacker even when sober.
For Further Information: “GUARD SJAMBOKS RAPIST, SAVES VICTIM.” Zimbabwe Daily. 5 January 2016
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