Zimbabwean sex toys activists challenges outdated law banning ‘sex toys’ in court

When my husband married me my sex life was okay said Sitabile Dewa but after the divorce, she found her prospects for sexual pleasure rather bleak.

In socially conservative Zimbabwe, divorced women and single mothers are often portrayed as unpopular partners for men, and in frustration, Dewa decides she wants to use toys sex.

The problem is that sex toys are banned by law in Zimbabwe. Dewa, 35, says: “I should not take away my right to self-discovery and self-fulfillment. Part of Zimbabwe’s “Censorship and entertainment control” law makes it illegal to import or possess sex toys because they are considered “indecent” or “obscene” and harmful to the public. public morality. Sex toys possession can land a woman in jail.

Dewa said the law was “archaic” and was challenging part of it in court on the grounds that it was oppressive and infringed on his freedoms. She filed a court case in March suing the Zimbabwean government and asking for some parts of the law to be repealed. The court is reviewing his case.

The public and bold mentions of masturbation and women’s sexuality are sure to upset many Zimbabweans. But women’s rights activists say her campaign is crucial, as part of a larger challenge to the nation’s patriarchal views, where women’s choices on a wide range of other issues affecting them and their bodies – including contraception, marriage and even what they wear – are scrutinized and often restricted.

Dewa herself is also a women’s rights activist and said she has used her life experience to protest the sex toy ban.
Evidence that the law is being actively enforced was last year when two women were arrested for sex toys.
One of them runs an online business that sells sexual aids to women and gives advice on how to use them.

Detained for two weeks and she was sentenced to six years in prison or 640 hours of unpaid community work. Debra Mwase, program director of Katswe Sistahood, a women’s rights group in Zimbabwe, said what seemed to upset authorities most about the sex toy issue was the marginalization of men.

She said, sexually liberated women will frighten the men who dominate Zimbabwe’s political, social and cultural spaces. “Sex isn’t really seen as a thing for women,” Mwase said. “Sex is a man’s pleasure. For women, it is still considered necessary only for procreation.”

“Sex without men becomes a threat,” she added. “These laws would have been amended very fast, if the majority of users were men,” Dewa says. The history of Zimbabwe is also important. While shedding light on the effects colonialism can have on women’s rights in sub-Saharan Africa today, numerous studies have shown that African women are more sexually expressive than before. European laws, cultures and religions are imposed.

Prominent Ugandan scholar Sylvia Ramale wrote in the introduction to her edited book “African Sex” that pre-colonial African women were “relatively liberal” when it came to the issue. their sex. However, they wear revealing clothes, says Ramale. But the colonialism and alien religion it brought with it “emphasized the inherent uncleanness and sinfulness associated with the female body,” she said.

Mwase satirizes what she sees as a major irony now in Zimbabwe, the country has been independent and freed from the oppression of the white minority for 43 years but retains laws such as those relating to sex toys, which are a legacy of the colonial era. “African societies still vigorously enforce values ​​and laws long abandoned by those who brought them here. It is in Europe that women are now free to wear fewer clothes and be more independent. due to sex, like we did more than a century ago,” she said.

Dewa’s sex toy outreach campaign fits into the broader Zimbabwean context, she said, where women are “tired of oppression” and are clearly forward-thinking. But there has been recent evidence that a return to the past could also be welcome.

Part of a pre-colonial South African tradition known as “Chinamwari” is being revived, in which young women come together for sex education sessions led by older female relatives or the community their supervision.
Advice on everything from foreplay to sex positions, sexual and reproductive health is offered, giving Chinamwari a reputation for being adventurous but also potentially empowering for young women.

Present-day Zimbabwe, Chinamwari gatherings are advertised on the net. But now they are also guaranteed to be kept secret, largely due to widespread attitudes towards sex and a backlash from some men who are uncomfortable with the idea that women are too good at it.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *