‘Sextortion victims suffering in silence’

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At work women are statistically more prone to sexual abuse, harassment and discriminatory practices

BY CATHERINE MUCHIRI
VICTIMS of sexual exploitation or sextortion in Zimbabwe are suffering in silence because mechanisms to safely and confidentially report abuses are not readily available for the aggrieved, the Zimbabwe Women Against Corruption Trust (ZWACT) has noted.

In a statement, ZWACT said: “Sexual exploitation against women continues to be a menace in society, yet the cases are under-reported formally because there are no clear reporting mechanisms for gendered forms of corruption such as sextortion. In the absence of safe and confidential reporting mechanisms, many victims will not be willing to testify against the perpetrators.

“Limited legal frameworks on sextortion hinder survivors or victim’s confidence to expose those who sexually exploit them. Women are more vulnerable to corruption as in some instances they are forced to exchange sex for opportunities.”

ZWACT recommended that reporting mechanisms be readily available for the victims because sextortion is a sensitive matter and also that reporting guidelines be available in Braille and other local languages.

Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe humanitarian cluster alternate leader Rita Nyampinga said:  “The current legal framework is not doing enough to protect victims of sexual exploitation and something should be done in order to encourage victims of sexual corruption to come out and report these cases. Stricter mechanisms should also be put in place to prohibit and punish perpetrators.”

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