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domenica 30 aprile 2017

Rape crisis in Zimbabwe: one rape every hour

Zimbabwe National Statistics Office (ZimStat) has said at least 22 women are raped daily in Zimbabwe, translating to almost one woman being sexually abused every hour.
According to the Zimstat's quarterly digest of statistics for the fourth quarter of 2016, 8 069 women were raped in 2016 up from 4 450 recorded in 2010. 

At least 4 450 cases were recorded in 2010 before the figure went up to 5 446 in 2011 and down to 5 412 in 2012. In 2013 a total of 5 717 were recorded before the cases shot up to over 7 000 in 2014 and 2015.

Gender activist and director at Katswe Sistahood Ms Talent Jumo said the available statistics may just be a fraction of what is on the ground as a number of victims were not reporting their cases due to a number of circumstances.

"We live in a society that does not encourage conversations around sex and sexuality. As a result a lot of girls are suffering in silence.

"A number of cases are going unreported. In most cases teachers are the ones who discover that a child has been raped because the home and society are not friendly enough to allow the girl child to speak out when she has been violated," she said.

Ms Jumo called for stiffer penalties for sexual offenders and called for the introduction of a minimum mandatory sentence for perpetrators.

"I think the sentence is not stiff enough. We need a minimum mandatory sentence for rape. Cattle rustling attracts stiffer punishment. So from an advocacy point of view we need to get to a point where we say enough is enough. Convictions are happening, yes, but they seem lenient," she said.

Another gender activists and programmes officer for Hands of Hope, Mrs Vimbai Nhutsve-Musengi echoed similar sentiments on stiffer penalties for perpetrators of sexual abuse. She said the country's legal system was exposing women to abuse.

"Most perpetrators are out there walking. The penalties are not stiff enough to deter would be offenders. There is need for us to revisit our laws and ensure that they protect women from abuse. Imagine someone getting community service for sexually abusing a woman".

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