Sexual harassment remains rampant despite the awareness interventions done in public spaces to create a safer working environment for women, a new report released by the Transparent International Zimbabwe has revealed.
Transparency International Zimbabwe said more than 57% of the respondents surveyed indicated that they have been forced to offer sexual favors in exchange for jobs, medical care and even when seeking placements at schools for their children.
The respondents (women) have pointed out that they have received requests for sexual favors to access a service and 15% had used sex to get employment.
According to a Zimbabwean Media consultant, Koliwe Majama in a virtual meeting earlier, sextortion has become part of the bribery culture in Zimbabwe, since women who do not have money to pay for bribes are thus forced to use sex as a form of payment.
“Sextortion has been taking place at high level, for instance many a times, women have been asked for sexual favors in return for tenders or business,” said Majama.
The report indicated that, ‘Sex is a currency in many corrupt deals in Zimbabwe and sexual harassment has become institutionalized thus women have been suffering for a long time’.
Sexist concepts result in particular narratives about the traditional gender roles for women and male, through than women are seen as weaker sex and less capable than men is every sphere of life, hence they are relegated to domestic realm of nurturance since they cannot be good leaders in politics, business or academia.
In an interview with a former Herald attaché, the young lady pointed out that the superiors create situations that force you to offer sexual favors to them.
“Some editors take advantage of these students to the extent that you can write stories and they will not be published because you turned him down. At times they give you night shifts so that they can offer to take you home and have more time with you when most people have gone home,” added Majama.
The former Herald attaché went on to encourage women to be bold enough to speak out and name and shame these individuals.
“l encourage the women to be bold enough and speak out against these harassing culprits as victims most fail to report for fear of being victimized by peers, and fear of ruining their families, especially among married women,” she said.
Editor for online news organisation, Health times, Michael Gwarisa said sexual harassment in the workplace is rampant in the workplace.
“Men tend to take advantage of these women as they will be desperate for employment and other services. however, there are some bad apples among women, they come in the workplace with the wrong intentions and these can end very badly,” said Gwarisa.
263Chat journalist, Lovejoy Mutongwiza said there is need to educate men about boundaries that they should not cross.
“Sometimes men do things thinking they are just fooling around and yet it affects women. So they is need for some education so that the workplace remains professional and how we are suppose to conduct ourselves as collogues. The management should not abuse power,” said Mutongwiza.
He added that there is need for strict codes of conducts when it comes to how we relate as employer and employees so that we all maintain a safe working environment.
The government recently redefined a acts that include asking for sexual favors in exchange for employment, unwelcome physical contact, uninvited sex teasing or sex jokes, unsavory comments about a woman’s structure or dressing.
Public Service Commission secretary, Jonathan Wutawunashe said one of the challenges faced by the PSC and ministries in dealing with sexual harassment is lack of skilled and experienced human resources capital to investigate and prosecute these cases.
“We have sought the assistance of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission. Cases of sexual harassment are difficult to deal with because irrefutable evidence is required,” said Wutawunashe.