No tolerance policy for rape

There should be a zero tolerance policy for rape and an investigation into politically-motivated sexual abuse, a human rights group has said.

In an interview last week, the executive director of Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, Charles Dandazi, said the investigations must be led by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Community Development, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs.

Dandazi added that the investigations should be undertaken on a large scale.

“Rape has far reaching consequences for women and their families, and for society as a whole. Women face the danger of HIV and AIDS infection, children born as a result of the rape, and the physical injuries as well as the psychological trauma suffered by them and their families, particularly those that witnessed the attacks,” he said.

He said although women talked about the need for justice, their main call was for immediate medical, social, and psychological support.

“The Zimbabwean government has to ensure that national sexual violence laws are enforced and the culture of impunity is done away with in keeping with local, regional and international instruments. Zimbabwe is part of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, in which it made commitments to ensure that perpetrators of gender based violence, including domestic violence, rape, femicide, sexual harassment, female genital mutilation and all other forms of gender-based violence are tried by a court of competent jurisdiction,” he explained.

Zimbabwe’s Parliament ratified the Protocol in October 2009.

Dandazi said the Research and Advocacy Unit and ZADHR recently concluded a study and produced the first report coming out of Zimbabwe focusing on politically motivated rape in the country. “The study concluded that politically motivated rape has been occurring in Zimbabwe over the last 10 years with serious social, medical and psychological impact on the survivors of these attacks,” he said.

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