HomeNewsGovt urged to assist politically-motivated rape victims

Govt urged to assist politically-motivated rape victims

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Government must identify victims of politically motivated rape and provide them with medical assistance such as anti-retroviral therapy where appropriate, communities in various parts of the country have recommended.
This is part of a raft of recommendations that are contained in an outreach report on transitional justice produced by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum which was officially launched recently in Bulawayo.
The report was produced from input gathered from 51 constituencies in the country.
Participants said they were concerned that hundreds of women were raped during the political violence that engulfed Zimbabwe in the period leading to the bloody presidential run-off elections in 2008 as well as during the Gukurahundi atrocities in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s.
Women and youth participants said perpetrators of these sexual offences had gone unpunished leaving victims traumatised and without help.
“Women were raped and left with unwanted children who are a painful reminder of that particular period,’’ reads an excerpt of the report contributed by a group of women in Lupane East constituency in Matabeleland North province.
“For them (victims of rape), rehabilitation will not make a difference, as it does not make the children sired by these perpetrators go away. Ihloka lingakhohlwa ukuthi ligamule ugodo, kodwa ugodo alusoze lukhohlwe” (The perpetrator may forget that he did harm to the victim but the victim won’t forget).’’
Another participant added: ‘’It is easier to pay back someone whose wheelbarrow was taken by someone; but how can one pay back someone who was raped or had his limbs cut off or his parents killed?’’
Women in Chiredzi North constituency in Masvingo province had suggestions on how to at least ameliorate the situation.
“With regard to such victims (of rape), government must provide anti-retroviral therapy to all women who contracted HIV as a result of the rape and should also get financial assistance to look after their fatherless children,’’ the women said.
Participants from Buhera Central constituency felt that perpetrators of serious offences like rape “must be committed to prison’’.
They also accused the police of turning a blind eye to such politically motivated crimes, an accusation that police have repeatedly denied.
“The police must not allow political tensions to be an excuse for criminal activities like rape,’’ reads a report from Buhera Central in Manicaland.
Survivors of political violence in Goromonzi South constituency said “rape, displacement, torture and murder took place and there was need to discuss the issues openly’’.

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