Gender Commision bemoans rampant ‘sextortion’

CORRUPTION has left Zimbabwean women vulnerable and are now exposed to sexual abuse as they try to get resources, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has said.

BY RICHARD MUPONDE

This was revealed by ZGC chief executive Virginia Muwanigwa during the weekend while making a presentation to delegates who attended the African Parliamentarians Network against Corruption (APNAC) anti-corruption workshop in Kadoma.

Muwanigwa said sextortion, where men use money to sexually exploit women was rampant.

“Corruption has specific networks to which women usually don’t have access. The culture of speed money has enabled men to bypass regulations in obtaining business licences or evade complex legal requirements for setting up companies. Women trail behind because they don’t own resources to engage in such deals. For example, in the mining sector such speed money is being used by miners, mostly men, to obtain mining claims or licences,” Muwanigwa said.

“Corruption, therefore, reinforces women’s social and economic vulnerability because they don’t have money. The understanding, therefore, is that one has to provide herself to pay for whatever services that they want through sex now known as sextortion. Sextortion involves various sexual assaults against women,” she said.

Muwanigwa said some people might argue that women have a choice to refuse sexual exploitation, adding that at times there were no alternatives for women due to economic hardships.

She said research by the ZGC showed that sextortion was happening in all sectors, adding that the commission was also investigating sexual harassment at workplaces and institutions of higher learning.

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