Callixte Nzamwita, a 71-year-old man from Rwanda, has spent the last 55 years in isolation due to an extreme fear of women.
He began isolating himself at the age of 16, living in confinement where he did everything from sleeping to cooking and even urinating. This fear, known as gynophobia, is considered a specific phobia but not officially recognized as a mental disorder.
In a video interview, Mr. Nzamwita shared, “I locked myself inside my house with a fence to ensure that women cannot come closer to me.”
Neighbors have tried to help him but are only able to offer items from a distance as he does not allow them to get close. “Surprisingly, even though he is afraid of women, we are the ones who help him get food and other basic necessities,” A female neighbor closeby had said in an interview.
Despite his isolated life, Mr. Nzamwita seems content and expresses that he has no desire for female company. Specific phobias, like gynophobia, can develop during childhood or adolescence and may become less severe with age.
Another also explained, “When we tried to help him, he stopped us from approaching or talking to him. We deliver the items to his house, and then he collects them. He may not allow us to approach him, but he accepts our gifts from afar.”
The symptoms of Gynophobia can be an irrational and overwhelming fear of women and anxiety that can be triggered by even thinking of them. It also includes panic attacks, tightness in the chest, sweating profusely, heart beating rapidly, and face difficulty in breathing.
This extraordinary story sheds light on the impact of specific phobias on people’s lives, emphasizing the importance of understanding and empathy for those dealing with such fears.