A ZIMBABWE United Passenger Company (Zupco) employee (23) has been left traumatized after she was gang-r_aped by four men at her home in Emthunzini suburb on the outskirts of Bulawayo in the presence of her male cousin (22).
The unknown r_apists attacked the woman, whose name has been withheld, on Monday last week at about 2.30 AM while she was going to work.
The suspects are said to have approached her while she was just about five houses away from hers and demanded to know where she was going at night.
She is said to have innocently told them that she was going to her bus stop where she would be picked up by a Zupco staff bus.
The suspects are said to have produced a knife and threatened to kill her if she made any noise before robbing her of R200.
It is said the quartet force-marched her back to her home where they took turns to s_exually violate her.
In an interview with The Chronicle, the victim’s sister wept as she narrated her sister’s ordeal at the hands of the r_apist robbers.
“I was at work when this happened. So at about 3.08AM she called me narrating that she had been r_aped. She told me that four men approached her just as she was passing the fifth house from home on her way to work. She said at first she assumed the men were part of the neighbourhood watch committee as they asked where she was going at night.
She said she became worried when the four men produced knives and snatched her handbag and threatened to kill her if she made noise.
They started interrogating her asking where she lived and whom she stayed with. She told them that she lived with her father and they demanded to know his profession of which she said he was a teacher,” she said.
The sister said that is when they force-marched her into the house saying if he was a teacher he has money and they wanted it.
“At home, there was, however, my cousin who is 22 years of age. When they entered the house, they went straight into his room and started hitting him with a hammer while he was still asleep. Thereafter they warned him against making any noise as they would kill them both.
They dragged my cousin to the room where my sister was and tied his hands while assaulting him with the hammer,” said the sister.
She said her sister could not identify the suspects as they were wearing face masks while they had torches blinding her.
Shedding tears, she said the four took turns to r_ape her sister whom she said was a virgin.
“They could have taken anything but for them, that was not enough. They took turns to r_ape her. When one of them was r_aping her, others would be searching the house for money. All of them r_aped her. All along she was a ‘girl’ and it’s these criminals who took that away from her,” she said.
“She is so traumatised at the moment, she might seem to be strong narrating what happened but when we are alone, you will see her just shedding tears. I’m really worried about her. She needs help, I can talk to her but she needs professional help. Yesterday we spoke to a social worker at Mpilo Central Hospital but I don’t think it’s enough help. If there is an organisation that can assist her, we will be grateful.”
The sister said she was concerned that Zupco had not made any attempt to contact her despite knowledge that she had been abused.
“I don’t know what kind of an employer does that. At my workplace if anything of that nature happens to me, someone would have come to talk to me, not just my colleagues, but my supervisors as well. But all that is happening, people are just spreading rumours and only her colleagues are the ones calling her but nothing from the company.
I’m concerned with how the company is behaving. Even this issue that she has to go to the bus stop, which is quite a distance away from our home, during the odd hours is of concern. They only picked her up twice in November at home but stopped after they complained of the roads. That is why she was walking to catch the bus at night,” said the sister.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube said investigations were in progress.
“When they met her they robbed her of R200 and her jacket. They then force-marched her back into her home. At her home they found a male adult in the house whom they hit with a hammer and brought him into the room where this woman was in. They ordered him to lie facing downwards while they continued to assault him. They then gang-r_aped this woman and searched the house and got away with US$100. They tied them up before they vanished,” said Insp Ncube.
“As police we are investigating this robbery and r_ape case. We are also appealing for members of the public who might have information leading to the arrest of these suspects to come forward. These suspects seem to have had knowledge about their victim. They seemed to be aware of the times she goes to work. And ordinarily, someone who doesn’t know whom you stay with will not force-march you back into your home and r_ape you.”
He said police were concerned that members of the public were not reporting criminals that they know exist within the community.