At a rally in Mberengwa this weekend, Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe, 50, told a large crowd of Zanu PF party supporters that women who wear short skirts deserve rape. Speaking Shona, Mugabe is reported to have said, “If you walk around wearing mini skirts displaying your thighs and inviting men to drool over you, then you want to complain when you have been raped? That is unfortunate because it will be your fault.”
Mugabe’s remarks invited backlash from gender activists and MDC-T opposition party spokesperson Obert Gutu, who said, “The statement by Grace is very disgraceful and denigrating to any woman and more so coming from a woman and the First Lady.”
The first lady also offered suggestions as to what women should wear as to avoid rape: “You can choose trousers, but not those which are too tight. These types of clothes are the signs of moral decadence in our country,” she said. Mugabe is believed by some to be pushing for the presidency once her husband leaves office and announced an interest in politics last year.
Her husband, 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe, gave conflicting remarks in September when he announced that his party was “very seriously” considering castration as punishment for those who commit rape.