GENDER, Women’s Affairs and Community Development Minister Oppah Muchinguri has called for stiffer penalties against rapists as a deterrent warning to would-be offenders.
Speaking at an event hosted by Msasa Project and The Women’s Trust as part of on-going commemorations of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Harare last week, Muchinguri said she was in agreement with parliamentarians who recently called for stiffer sentences for rapists.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is paramount to note that as government we are committed to addressing cultural and traditional challenges of impunity on issues of rape and violence against women and girls,” Muchinguri said.
“We need to engage with all stakeholders in particular parliament to reflect on the sentencing of rape perpetrators. “The sentence should reflect our disgust towards rape and sexual violence; send a clear message that rape or any form of sexual violence will not be tolerated now or any time in Zimbabwe.”
Speaking at the same event, public prosecutor in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Sharon Fero said the girl child was more vulnerable to rape.
“The figures that were received between July and September 2013 through the victim friendly system reflect that on average we have five children (per day) who are subjected to sexual abuse and 91% of these cases of sexual abuse are perpetrated on the girl child,” said Fero.
“The offences were mostly perpetrated on girls between the ages of five to 16 years and the perpetrators of rape are men, who are usually familiar with the victims.”
Fero added that most rape cases went unreported as the victims were usually afraid to report the perpetrators who they were familiar with.