Hooker narrates her night of horror where she was raped at Knife point in front of her kids

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HE PUT A KNIFE ON MY THROAT AND TOLD ME TO UNDRESS”

TO SOME people,the world’s oldest profession might seem like a means of making money.However,that is not the story:the reality of it is that the profession comes with loads of pain and misery.

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Our documentary photographer Tawanda Mudimu tracked Belinda Mutandwa,a woman based in Epworth who plies the trade at Solani Shopping in the settlement. Belinda recounted the horror she encountered in the hands of one “client”who abused her only to walk away scot-free.Below is her story in her own words.

IT WAS around 7pm when I decided to leave for my night jaunt at Solani Shopping Centre in Epworth where I stay.It is an area infested with a lot of night clubs,hence a high level of vices like pr_ostitution,muggery,rape are a part of the community almost as much as poverty and squalor.

As a single woman who was impregnated with three different men who sired my three kids.I had no option but to resort to pr_ostitution,which is my only means of survival and the only thing that I know.I don’t have any skill,I don’t even know the door of what you call a classroom.

So,as I said,it was time for me to leave for my prowl for clients for the little bucks that we charge-something from US$2 for a quickie,a dollar even when someone negotiates.

I gave my daughter Nyaradzo (not her real name) her usual dose of a highly potent drug which is known for its purpose of enhancing hips,apart from also inducing sleep.

I have been doing this ever since Nyaradzo was born.Deep down inside,I know that what I am doing-giving her the drug,that is not good and my heart bleeds inside.

I love my kids and I wish a good life for them but what can a mother like me-unemployed,uneducated,unmarried-do in order to sustain a family.

Poverty has pushed me down the precipice of life and the only thing that I know in order to escape from that steep slope is to sacrifice my life.

After dosing Nyaradzo with the pill,I then left for Solani soliciting for clients to take to my bed for bread for my family the next day.

Little did I know that the devil’s ugly smile and teeth were beckoning towards me!

I met this guy who in my unschooled eyes looked like my prince charming in Armour and I immediately “fell in love” with him.

I charged him $15 for the services I was going to render to him and as “gentleman”that he looked,I didn’t even doubt him when he asked for a downward arrangement of $10.

He hired a taxi for us,for our night romp,but what surprised me is that he didn’t pay a single Rand (then we were still using the Rand as part of our multi-currency system)for the journey.

Anyway,we went to my place,and when we reached there,I went through the norm of first asking for the money before taking to the blankets.

He took off part of his clothes still he was adamant on not giving me the money.That’s when I started smelling a rat.

I pressed him,hoping that he would reason,but he had completely changed.The “gentleman” I had met before had changed into a complete monster!

I looked at my kids who were sleeping on the floor;pain speared through my heart as I imagined them going for another spate of hunger.

The monster remained hard as a rock.That’s when I discovered that there are some people out there who are heartless,and that is also the same day when I rued ever venturing into this “profession”.

In the midst of negotiating with him,he suddenly withdrew an okapi knife from one of his pockets and thrust it straight at my throat.

There is nothing that you can do with a knife on your throat.I looked into his face,that monsterish look had turned even uglier.I prayed inside me,for my life but above all,I was worried about my children.

I recently heard a story of Brenda (Myers-Powell) a pr_ostitute from United States who recounted her ordeal similar to mine.In her story she said:”When people describe pr_ostitution as being something that is glamorous,elegant,like in the story of Pretty Woman,well that doesn’t come close to it.

A pr_ostitute might sleep with five strangers a day.Across a year,that’s more than 1,800 men she’s having se_xual intercourse or or_al se_x with.

These are not relationships,no-one is bringing me any flowers here,trust me on that.

They’re using my body like a toilet.”

This is the same feeling that I had on the night-yes the man was using me like a toilet.The abuse that women and children face in front a circumstance and scenario like mine.It’s either a stranger who does that,or we do it ourselves.

He wielded his knife,all in the eyes of my kids and if I am to say something and (praise to God) he asked me to give him a co_ndom.

Imagine,a rapist,at knife-point,asking to wear a condom in order to rape you?I did that,putting the co_ndom on his thing,that is!

And that was one of the most horrid,torrid and vilest moments I have experienced in my life.He did the act,and all the time,I was praying to let my neighbours know about my plight.But since I had the knife at my throat,I could not alert neighbours.

“Akangozvuva banga muhomwe make….abva auya pamusoro pangu…ndiri kuda kutorara newe…’Dai ndakadeedzera akandibaya pahuro.That is when he ra_ped me.

I thought he would just vanish into the night.But he didn’t do that.The monster was out on a mission.

Rapist,thief,mugger!His bloodshot eyes scanned my room.He went to my pushing tray,looked it over,probably he thought that’s where I stowed my money.

After realising that there was nothing there,he came to me (and luckily not my kids,who had scurried into a tiny corner of my room)As the scuffle continued,one of my eldest children bolted out to alert my neighbours and the monster ran into the night.

When such things happen children observe,and it leaves an imprint in their memory.They are devastated owing to the fact that they are victims of such kind of abuse.

Also,when I look at these very same kids of mine,as well as my upbringing,with my late mother failing to provide for my education,let alone a proper grooming,that’s when I see the importance of providing well for children.

I am not well read,but someone once said “Every child has the right to protection from abuse”.

I hope one day I will take my kids out of their situation.

“It is hoped that Brenda’s plight will attract organisations like Spring of life,whose mission is to take women away from pr_ostitution and help them is starting income generating projects.

Statistics show that there are approximately 52214 ‘proffessional pr_ostitutes’in Zimbabwe. This was revealed by the Center for Sexual Health and HIV AIDS Research in 2015.

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