Sexual harassment is a cancer that is spreading like wildfire. Victims unfortunately, are not capable of standing up to these men, hence the practice continues at workplaces.
I have been in practice as a journalist for over three decades and never have I seen such crazy men in workplaces who salivate over vulnerable young girls who are fresh from college.
This trend has existed in the media for years, but there seems to be a general reluctance to bring culprits to a hearing or suspend them.
I read a very sad story on CZI column from the pink paper yesterday and frankly speaking, I was so devastated because one of the people involved is an excellent journalist who is also very marketable. I am particularly incensed by the fact that this journalist had sounded like someone who defended women’s rights.
To say I was outraged is an understatement. I was so incensed. The inner voice kept saying: “Get a placard and demonstrate alone at this particular newspaper . . .”
The problem with newspapers is that they are a male affair. In some cases, students on attachment have been raped and others placed on permanent late shift so that the so-called bosses can drive them home and make advances.
Students have sometimes received negative recommendations to their colleges or universities just because they would have refused to sleep with their attachment bosses.
Why are these men violating these young girls?
This is the reason why there are very few women in the media because they warn their peers when they go back to college for the last semester.
I am also a survivor of sexual harassment. I had just joined a local language tabloid from the department of information. Hardly three months into the job I started receiving calls from some crazy man from that establishment!
What shocked me was that I told my editor about this incident, but he did not act on the matter.
“Could he really do that?” was all he said.
I told him he had approached me in an elevator and asked: “Why aren’t you answering my calls?” That is when I recalled the voice. I went back to the editor again and told him that I now knew the individual who was making advances at me over the phone.
Nothing was done. I was so delighted when this perpetrator decided to start his own company. That is when I decided to stay. I had already started looking for another job at the only electronic media in Zimbabwe when panelists started making advances as well. That was depressing, but sadly, some of the perpetrators — except for only one — lie dead at a graveyard now.
Perpetrators of sexual violence are drivers of Aids. One individual can infect over 1 500 people in just one year. Isn’t that mind sobering?
Sounds fictitious, but this information was put up on posters all over the city. Journalists fully understand the implications of engaging in unsafe sex and the consequences.
They instead boast about their sexual exploits every day, which is rather disturbing. One editor once boasted that he beds married women because they are safe.
I responded and said: “My dear colleague, someone could be doing the same to your wife.”
This editor frothed with anger.
I went on and said: “You guys don’t believe that women do get raped . . . wait until one of your daughters gets raped by a relative or a gardener.”
The editor was so angry because he never expected such a response. I also know about a journo who infected his wife and one of his children with HIV. He has since started taking ARVs.
But humans are very complex because although they are aware of what could happen to them, they continue bedding students who probably have already been infected from university, high school or probably were born with HIV.
I am aware the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists in conjunction with the federation, is working on some programme to create newsroom awareness on this matter.
It has to be an ongoing programme because there is a high staff turnover by women journalists.
These rapists have caused untold suffering to young women.
Let us name and shame these guys. Something must be done as a matter of urgency.
The newsroom is a boys’ club and women who join this profession are viewed as sex objects that have invaded man space.
We expose scandals from other organisations. Why don’t we do the same with ours? These men are disgusting.
Let’s stand up to these people and protest. What a shameless bunch of men they are!