Sexual Harassment Victims Suffer in Silence

Nyasha Manyengavana discusses Body Shaming on Identities Umhlobo

Many cases of sexual harassment have been reported in Zimbabwe, but the question is: How many perpetrators have been brought to book?

Every day sexual harassment perpetrators roam  the streets freely. Does that mean the law is not supreme enough to bring them to book or it has just become the norm that sexual harassment is not a punishable offense?

In Zimbabwe and the world at large, harassment has become a pertinent issue and is “trending” just like technology and fellow citizens in different places are harassing others with impunity.

Sexual harassment is rife in schools, at workplaces as well as in the streets. Sexual harassment is also done via Internet on platforms such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram as well as the most popular; WhatsApp.

Harassment via internet is called cyber bullying and has become the most trending platform for the evil.

“In the streets you hear people say, ‘Mother you have a big butt and it’s shaking’,” said Hope Marozva, a development practitioner speaking on Identities Umhlobo Zvatiri television show.

Such kind of harassment, especially in the streets has become so common that society seems to have accepted it.

 Crimes of sexual harassment are committed on a daily basis but how many of them have been reported? For those that have been reported how many of the perpetrators are behind bars?

People who hold influential positions commit some of the sexual harassment crimes at workplaces and the victims are afraid of reporting for fear of losing their jobs. Some of the victims do not report the cases because of the fear that no one will believe them and the perpetrator can turn the blame on them as if it was their fault. Research has shown that both men and women suffer from sexual harassment with men suffering to a lesser extent than women.

Some people are harassed through body shaming, that is, calling other people names specifically because of their body parts, size and appearance.

This can be heard in the streets where touts voice negative comments about someone’s dressing or appearance.

It has become common in the streets of Harare that touts attack women in miniskirts.

Nyasha Manyengavana said her worst experience was being called ‘kadoor frame’ (a door frame) because of her slim structure.

She said that whenever she is going somewhere she has to consider what to wear carefully because someone out there is waiting to comment about her structure.

Hope Marozva said those people who comment never consider the extent of damage caused by their words.

Letwin A. Mazarura

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