Source: Sex predators prey on women – The Standard May 26, 2019
BY VENERANDA LANGA
An increasing number of Zimbabwean women say they have become victims of sexual abuse at their workplaces, a study has revealed.
According to the Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) survey, women in the extractive industry and those working in the private sector are prone to abuse.
The TIZ said the study on corruption and its effects on women targeted 296 females, and the participants raised concerns over high levels of ‘sextortion’.
“Participants said women are falling victim to sexual corruption in their workplaces when their male superiors demand sexual favours in exchange for job security or to secure employment or attachment places,” reads the TIZ report presented at a discussion forum in Harare.
“Women also cited patriarchy as a barrier to women empowerment, which in turn exposes them to corruption.”
In 2012, TIZ researcher Farai Mutondoro also did an investigation on the phenomenon described as “sextortion” where he found out that it was severely affecting youths at institutions of higher learning.
“Despite these things happening, TIZ said women in Zimbabwe remain disempowered to report this form of corruption due to factors such as fear of the negative social labels and stigmatisation; women and girls fearing to lose what one would have gained through sextortion, the realisation by victims that the damage has already been done, and that institutions for legal redress are not properly structured to respond in time to the problem of sextortion,” Mutondoro said.
Women Affairs secretary Rudo Chitiga said corruption was rife in the country and it severely affected women. She said it included paying bribes and sextortion.
“It is better that women participate in decision-making processes because the more women have powerful positions in politics and in business, the better in terms of limiting chances of corruption and women will feel comfortable approaching authorities rather than the tanga wandida (sextortion) situation,” she said.
Chitiga said women suffered a lot of exploitation — including female vendors in Harare’s bustling Mbare suburb and other women who try to enter into the business of small and medium enterprises at places like Glenview.
“There are touts and there are also space barons, and women can be sexually exploited when they try to get space to sell their wares,” she said.
Chitiga said the Zimbabwe Gender Commission was also receiving a lot of reports of sexual harassment of women at different sectors.