Community Development Education Health Legal and Parliamentary Affiars

Report sexual harassment in public spaces: Women urged


The Zimbabwe Gender Commission has urged women to report issues to do with sexual harassment to the Gender Commission or to the police.

Speaking today at a march which was hosted by Katswe Sisterhood that was entitled; ‘Let’s march against harassment of woman in the streets, bogus taxis and unresponsive police force,’ Mrs Caroline Matiza who is the Director of Programmes at the Zimbabwe Gender Commission said sexual harassment is one of the crucial issues that affects many women in the public space and as the Gender Commission it is their mandate to make sure that there are safe spaces for women.

“Sexual harassment in public places is one of the issues that is affecting women in societies, as the Gender Commission we are affected by a number of stories we have received, people are dying at bus terminuses because of this issue,” she said.

She also said no one was entitled to harass someone because of the manner the individual will be wearing his or her clothes.

“No one has the right to harass anyone because of the way the individual will be dressed, if harassed people are free to report the issue to the Gender Commission,” she said.

Mrs Matiza said to the women that had attended the march they were going to present the grievances to the Ministry of Transport, Council and the Police to ensure safe space for women and girls.

“We are going to present the grievances to the Ministry of Transport, Council and the Police force. We want to make sure that by next year this time when we will be commemorating 16 days of activism against gender based violence, we would be having safe spaces for women and girls,” she said.

Chief Superintendent Makusha who is one of the police officers that was at the march said it was a crime for anyone to touch someone’s body or clothes without the person in question’s concern and it was their role as the police force to make sure that such people who does that faces the wrath of the law.

He urged people to avoid boarding private cars and mushika-shika cabs, but to board buses, stating that many people were now using private cars to kidnap, steal and do many other bad things to people.

He also said no one was supposed to force anyone to get into any bus as it is against the law, according to him people were supposed to board any bus of their choice without any force.

“It is a criminal offence for someone to touch anyone’s body or clothes without that person’s consent and people should not be forced to enter into any bus, but they should do that by choice.

“People should stay away from private cars and mushika-shika cabs because they are being used by criminals to further their goals of kidnapping, stealing from innocent people,” he said.

Mukusha also advised people, especially women to refrain from going to some parties of people they do not have much information about, stating that they will be exposing themselves to a risk of being drugged and abused.

“People, especially women should desist from going to some parties that they do not have enough information about as they increase the risk of being drugged and abused.

“There are many statistics of people that have been drugged and abused because of going to such parties,” he said.

The Superintendent assured people that they were going to make sure that the issue of sexual harassment in public spaces will be prioritised to have a safe public space for everyone and those found at the wrong side of the law will be dealt with accordingly.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende