The majority of human rights violations against women go unreported, highlighting the country’s “deafening silence” around sexual violence amid claims victims fear being blamed, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has said.
The State-run rights commission said in its annual report, released on Tuesday, that during the period under review, it recorded 514 cases with 367 violations being filed by males, 128 by females and 19 being filed by groups.
“The number of male complainants continues to increase and is higher than that of females by 239,” the commission said.
“ZHRC intends to research on the reasons why there are less women lodging complaints particularly on human rights violations considering that they are a more vulnerable group susceptible to abuse and violation.”
In January, a number of women alleged sexual abuse by soldiers following the protests that broke out after President Emmerson Mnangagwa hiked fuel prices.
However, the police said only one formal report had been reported to the police.
ZHRC also said the highest numbers of cases reviewed were recorded from Harare and Bulawayo Metropolitan Provinces.
It attributed this to the geographical location of its two offices which are in two of the provinces while the commission has no physical presence at the “eight rural provinces.”
“These rural provinces continue to register few complaints largely because of accessibility and visibility challenges of the ZHRC.
“It is crucial therefore, for the ZHRC to decentralise to all provinces to ensure easier accessibility to its services by members of the public,” the commission said.