HomeLocalSexual abuse rife in police – Makone

Sexual abuse rife in police – Makone

 

Makone, who is Zimbabwe’s first female Home Affairs minister, said her presence in the ministry has opened up a can of worms as female workers now reveal their ordeals at the hands of their unruly superiors.

For a long time, she said, cases of sexual abuse were being swept under the carpet. “I think it was my presence there as a woman that gave other women the power to write to me and tell me what they were experiencing,” said Makone.

“There were piles and piles of letters with sexual harassment complaints and I said I was going to resolve these issues. Little did I know that this is a man’s world.”

She was speaking during an award ceremony organised by the International Images Film Festival (IIFF) for Women last week held to reward women who have made outstanding contributions to the film industry and their communities.

Makone said efforts to deal with the perpetrators of the sexual abuse were scuttled by fear of victimisation. Said Makone: “I insisted there should be investigations and told them (the victims) to write letters with their names and those of the abusers but there were no names attached to these letters.

“My heart burns because I know these injustices are still taking place and there is no hope for these women.” It was disheartening that people who are supposed to act as custodians of the law are at the forefront of violating human rights, she said.

The Home Affairs ministry encompasses the police, Immigration Department and Registrar General’s Office. “How can you be treated unfairly in the department of police, immigration or the registrar general’s department? Violence is happening (even) in the police force. That suffering is happening right now,” said Makone.

According to statistics, one in three working women at all levels in Zimbabwe is reported to be subjected to sexual harassment at the workplace while 38 percent of women have been victims of some physical, sexual or psychological abuse.

Makone said cases of sexual abuse of women at workplaces also extend to the private sector as well. “I did experience sexual harassment and you had to decide to fight or leave,” said Makone. “But in the end I had the last laugh because I stood my ground and made the noise.”

Makone’s sentiments were provoked by scenes from a South African film, A Country for My Daughter, which showed incidents of women being sexually abused even at the hands of the police.

She urged women film makers to come up with stories that reflect what is happening in society if they are to remain relevant.

 

1 in 3 working women prone to sexual harassment

 

According to statistics, one in three working women at all levels in Zimbabwe is reported to be subjected to sexual harassment at the workplace while 38% of women have been victims of some physical, sexual or psychological abuse.

Makone said cases of sexual abuse of women at workplaces also extend to the private sector as well. “I did experience sexual harassment and you had to decide to fight or leave,” said Makone. “But in the end I had the last laugh because I stood my ground and made the noise.”

Makone’s sentiments were provoked by scenes from a South African film, A Country for My Daughter, which showed incidents of women being sexually abused even at the hands of the police.

She urged women film-makers to come up with stories that reflect what is happening in society if they are to remain relevant.

Recent Posts

Stories you will enjoy

Recommended reading