Zimbabwe: Don't Glorify and Justify Rape, Women in Power Urged

Zimbabwe police spokesperson Charity Charamba in Harare denies charges of widespread abuse by security forces, Jan. 29, 2018.
30 January 2019

Women groups have lashed at their counterparts in positions of authority for separating themselves and justifying rape cases, urging them to use their influence to protect their fellows.

Following reported cases of rape on women by soldiers and police during a crackdown of perpetrators of violent shutdown protests a fortnight ago, police spokesperson Charity Charamba and Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services appeared in the media understating the number of victims.

Women's Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) board member Rita Nyamupinga said women in power were using language that glorifies rape instead of protecting the victims.

"I was disturbed when I listened to Honorable Monica Mutsvangwa when she said one woman was raped and to me one is just too many to be raped. We are not speaking of the numbers whether its 100 or 50, just one rape committed is a crime against humanity and should not be taken lightly to say only one woman was raped.

"Why do we want to glorify and justify rape, rape is rape ! So we don't want our respectable women who are in positions of authority to use that kind of language, I think its high time they be with the women, not to separate themselves because they were women first before they were honorable members of parliament. One woman is too many for us," said Nyampinga.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police yesterday released a statement claiming the alleged reports have not been brought to the attention of the police but one in Chitungwiza , St Mary's.

Justice for Women Zimbabwe (JWZ) Director Coezette Chirinda said it is difficult to trust that the Government will take up investigations as they are reluctant to own up to what happened during the shutdown.

"Judging from the recent press release by the police and statements by the police spokesperson it is difficult to trust the regime because it seems like they don't want to own up to whatever happened during the shutdown. We are demanding that they own up because they are distancing themselves and not owning up to their actions.

"There is no point in having a dialogue until the regime owns up to its actions.

"We demand the prosecution of all the perpetrators without fear or favor and that they are barred from ever working in the security sector,

"We further demand the Government of Zimbabwe to take up the recommendations of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission which were accurate and bold on what transpired and what must be done" said Chirinda.

According to a report by an international television station ITV, 17 women came forward to seek medical and psycho-social support following alleged rape by armed security agents.

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