So many stories have been written on abuse in churches but what is clear is that the majority of those abused are women. Stories have been written of women who seek the services of prophets and church leaders but then end up being abused.
Of late is the story of a popular prophet Walter Magaya of the Prophetic Healing Deliverance Ministries PHD who is accused of adultery by a Harare man Denford Mutashu. However, Mutashu’s third wife Memory Nomusa Ruvazhe, who denies any sexual relationships with the prophet, claims she only went to Magaya to seek help on her marriage problems.
Media reports have shown that women who especially go to churches especially the mushrooming Pentecostal and Apostolic churches with their “heavy burdens” are sometimes abused by the prophets and sect leaders whom are supposed to be delivering them.
Chengeto Zhou, an elder in a Pentecostal church in Harare, said it is sad that women continue to be abused in the church, an institution that is supposed to proffer them solutions to their problems or walk with them through their problems.
“Most women put themselves under unnecessary pressure and have a lot of problems that drive them to seek the services of the apostolic leaders or prophets. It is this vulnerability and the need to find solutions to their problems that sometimes lead women to be abused in the church and only realize that they have been abused after the abuse.” Zhou explained.
“I have read media reports of women especially who seek services at apostolic shrines who are told to return alone and sometimes made to strip naked by male apostolic leaders and then raped,” she said.
“This shows desperation in women sometimes in a bid to have a child in a childless marriage or tame a husband who will be womanizing,” Zhou added.
Bertha Chaitezvi said women keep on being raped despite media reports on such cases and blamed brainwashing by some churches leaders.
“If you read these stories you realize that the tricks used by these dubious prophets are almost similar which can only mean that they brainwash these women before abusing them. Women also feel under a lot of pressure by the too much need to please man.
Women should know that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage therefore should not unnecessarily put themselves under pressure in trying to make their marriages perfect,” Chaitezvi explained.
Asked on why women always expose themselves by visiting apostolic shrines and prophets alone and expose themselves to abuse, Madzibaba Titus Mombeshora a leader of an apostolic set said most prophets have become “natural psychologists” .
“These are dubious prophets who know the problems that mostly affect women and they capitalize on this. Women should wake up and smell the coffee and they should be on alert when these prophets ask for weird things.
How can you for example agree to remove all your clothes in front of a men in a secluded place where you know that in the event that when abused and you scream no one will hear you,’ Madzibaba Mombeshora queried.
Mombeshora said most of the tricks that are used by the “false prophets “ are so old that women should not continue to fall prey on these tricks.