HomeSportMore sexual harassment cases emerge: SRC

More sexual harassment cases emerge: SRC

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

THE Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has revealed that sexual harassment cases in Zimbabwean football continue to rise as more victims are coming forward to report their ordeals.

This follows the suspension of the Zifa board by the SRC for a cocktail of transgressions among them the failure to deal with allegations of sexual harassment of female referees by key technical staff within the football governing body

Female commissioners in the SRC board Karen Mutasa and Gail Van Jaarsveldt revealed the latest development in an exclusive interview with StandardSport.

“One of the key discussion points that the SRC has brought to the attention of FIFA, is the sexual harassment cases whose number continues to increase as more victims emerge. We believe that when the women made their complaints to ZIFA, CAF and FIFA – these issues should have been prioritized and given due attention,” Mutasa said.

“There has been a significant increase in sexual harassment incidences over the last few years, aside from this just being totally unacceptable, this trend has further widened the gap with regard to gender equality within the sports and recreation sector,” she added.

Van Jaarsveldt also added her voice to the matter that came to light back in 2020 and seemingly died a natural death until the SRC intervened.

“Football has long held a special place in the affections of Zimbabweans.  This status has largely protected the sector from scrutiny in as far as sexual harassment incidences are handled.

“Regrettably, the suspended ZIFA Board did not conclusively deal with sexual harassment incidences within its structures, leaving the professional women in football very vulnerable to continued abuse by their perpetrators.

“Anyone within ZIFA who spoke out or supported the complainants were side-lined or ‘frozen out’ and in some cases, threatened.  So not only were these women subjected to work related trauma of unwanted sexual advances, they also lost their means of income and careers,” she added.

It is understood that the SRC wrote to ZIFA on several occasions requesting that they institute an investigation into the matter and also requested ZIFA to avail reports of the findings but nothing materialized.

“Due to the severity of the issues, the Sports and Recreation Commission was compelled to take the necessary steps in order to protect the integrity of the sector. This has brought to the fore, deep routed issues of sexual harassment within the ZIFA structures.

“The SRC has since engaged the affected parties together with other relevant stakeholders in a bid to obtain a holistic appreciation of the gravity of the matter.   What is quite apparent is the absolute relief and gratitude by the victims that this issue is finally being addressed,” Mutasa said.

According to the SRC the Zimbabwe Republic Police has opened dockets for the cases that have been reported while the Zimbabwe Gender Commission has shown key interest in the matter.

Mutasa and Van Jaarsveldt appealed to women whom have been subjected to sexual harassment during the course of their work to come forward and report.

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