By Tafadzwa Muranganwa – The Students Movement of Zimbabwe is supporting the motion to the Parliament by Harare West Member of Parliament Jessie Majome that calls a mandatory 30 year sentence rape and gender based violence cases as 2012 Zimbabwe statistics and UNICEF report review an increase rape cases.
The motion also speaks to the bettering of service provision to victims of rape as well as push for action of the National Gender Based Violence Strategy 2012-2015.
As an organisation whose main objective is to work with young people and students aiming at addressing their changing needs revealed that Zimbabwe statistics UNICEF found out that one in every three girls in Zimbabwe are raped or sexually assaulted before they reach the age of 18. The report went on to reveal that amongst these victims only 2.4 percent are fortunate to receive treatment and support against 97.6 percent that are left without support.
“We are very aware of the deplorable number of rape cases and/or gender based violence cases at tertiary institutions in the country.
It is ultimately young female students that pay the ultimate price from inaction on society’s part when it comes to issues of abuse and violence,” said Pretty Mubaiwa from SCMZ.
The same study also revealed that 15 women are raped or face some sort of sexual abuse each day in Zimbabwe and 2013, it was reported that over a thousand cases of sexual violence or rape had been reported to the police, and it is also a known fact that even double the number go unreported.
“It should be not only governments prerogative to safeguard women and children from facing abuse and violence, but it should also be the whole society’s duty to make sure that women are respected and protected.
“Perpetrators of sexual violence and rape should be held accountable for their actions, and as the saying goes, ‘the punishment should fit the crime. Stiffening rape sentences and also offences of a gender based violence nature will go a long way in deterring offenders from committing these offences and also offer some form of justice to the victims,” she said.
As SCMZ they join other civil society movements in fighting for the protection of young female students and women in general through the institutionalization of protective and support measures.