Alice was a grassroots political organizer for the Movement for Democratic Change, the opposition party in Zimbabwe. Now in her 40s, she lives undercover in a neighboring country while she waits to find out if she will be granted asylum. Here, she relives moment-by-moment her experience in 2008 of abduction and rape, sexual violence as political retribution.
My neighbor said, â€œI heard they are coming to get you today.â€
I said, â€œIâ€™m tired of running. If they want to come and get me they can come.â€ Less than an hour later, they came. In winter it gets dark early. It was some time after 6 pm when three cars full up with people arrived at my house. This was the 7th of June, 2008.
When I heard the sound of cars, I looked through the curtain and saw that it was bad. There was nowhere to run. They were wearing camouflage, the Zimbabwean army uniform, and they were armed with guns.
They all got out of the cars. Some jumped over my gate and some went round to my neighborsâ€™ house where I used to go to hide. My house is a typical ghetto house â€“ each one is attached to the neighborsâ€™ houses. In one bedroom, they found my stepson and his wife sleeping. Iâ€™d given my stepson the spare keys to my bedroom but he could not get the door open. He was trying to insert the key but I was inside holding the other key. When I realized that they were beating him, I unlocked the door. I said, â€œPlease donâ€™t beat up my son. I am the problem because I am a member of MDC.â€
They said, â€œAre you showing off with your MDC?â€
I said, â€œNo, Iâ€™m not. You are hurting someone who has done no wrong.â€
They said, â€œOk, open your bedroom. Why were you locked inside?â€
I said, â€œI was afraid. Iâ€™ve never had visitors bring guns before.â€
They went into my bedroom and started searching. They found twenty Morgan Tsvangirai Â posters and two posters for my MP, and flyers and The Zimbabwean newspaper â€“ I had piles of them for distribution. They searched my house and took some money that I was saving, 300 US dollars and 150 South African rands.
They told me to carry all the stuff out of the house and they took me in their open truck, a cream-colored Mitsubishi. I was sitting in the back, in the middle, and they were surrounding me, sitting on the sides. They were kicking me and hitting me with sticks and fists. Some wanted to throw me into a dam. Another car stopped and someone inside said, â€œDid you find her?â€ and they said, â€œYes we did.â€
They wanted me to tell them where the MDC MPs lived, the MDC youthsâ€™ houses, the councilorâ€™s house. I refused to tell them. They said, â€œSo you are being like Jesus who died for others? Are you going to die for those people?â€ I said, â€œNo. Whoever showed you my house should have shown you all the other houses.â€ They said I was rude. They beat me up so badly. After that they said, â€œTake off your clothes.â€
When I removed my clothes, just before we got to the Methodist church, they stopped the car and started taking pictures of me, naked. They carried on beating me as they were driving around. Then they stopped somewhere else in the dark and there they raped me.
There were many soldiers. I donâ€™t know how many raped me because I passed out.
I think they threw water on me because I became conscious when we got to the police station. They said, â€œGet off and carry your stuff.â€ I got off the back of the truck but I couldnâ€™t even walk. I fell down and they said get up and I did.
Inside, when they got behind the counter in the police station, they threw a bullet at me and said, â€œKiss itâ€ and I did and they said, â€œThat bullet is yours.â€