SILENT BRAVERY exposes an issue that continues to be ignored: the rape and sexual abuse against women of Zimbabwe. In 2002, a 9-month old girl was raped. In 2003, a two-week old girl was raped and died from the trauma. These are only two of thousands of incidents of violence and child abuse that occur in Africa every year.
The cause of these rapes is shocking: men with HIV/AIDS believe that they will be cured if they have sex with a virgin; the younger and more “pure” the girl, the better their chances of ridding themselves of their disease. The source of these beliefs has been through traditional healers and some Zimbabwean governments. Because virginity is the desired state for marriageable young girls, religious sects and schools perform virginity tests and inadvertently identify potential victims for perpetrators.
Additionally, due to the absence of male figures, women are responsible for collecting the water for their families. However, their clean water resources are minimal and they must often walk long distances to obtain clean water. It is during these long treks that girls are exposed to sexual predators. Most rapes result in the girls contracting HIV/AIDS because of the high percentage of HIV/AIDS in Africa. The girls then bring the virus back to their village, resulting in a further spread of the virus.